Dr Matt Taylor, the European Space Agency's project scientist on the Comet 67P mission. [photo: YouTube]
A female tech writer has received abuse and death threats on Twitter after criticising the sexist shirt worn by a scientist involved in this week's Philae comet landing.
Matt Taylor - a scientist from the European Space Agency's Rosetta Project, which successfully landed a space probe on the comet 67P on Wednesday morning, following a decade-long mission - drew online criticism after he was interviewed wearing a shirt with naked women on it.
"No no women are toooootally welcome in our community, just ask the dude in this shirt," Rose Eveleth - a tech and science journalist for The Atlantic - wrote on Twitter, referencing the wide gender divide in the Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) industries.
Other Tweeters similarly voiced their concerns over Taylor's shirt, using the hashtags #Shirtgate and #Shirtstorm, with astrophysicist Katie Mack calling it "inappropriate for a broadcast if you care about women in STEM".
I don't care what scientists wear. But a shirt featuring women in lingerie isn't appropriate for a broadcast if you care about women in STEM— Katie Mack (@AstroKatie) November 12, 2014
Pretty exciting science going down. Pretty typical science struggles, too. #shirtgate— realscientists (@realscientists) November 12, 2014
His shirt says to women in STEM: I have no respect for you as a professional. When I look at you, I see a sex object http://t.co/ql13ZdJqLj— Katie Grasha (@ktgrasha) November 13, 2014
there, I fixed it pic.twitter.com/Z3gZQGh4GE— Zup (@SMLXist) November 13, 2014
Eveleth has since come under fire from Twitter trolls, receiving abuse and death threats. "Seriously, quit your bitching," wrote one user; "Please kill yourself," wrote another.
@roseveleth Why are you objectifying a man by basing your opinion solely on his appearance, and not his contribution to society?— Christopher Katko (@ckatko) November 13, 2014
@roseveleth Sometimes try sex. You'll be better.— dr_x (@drx001) November 13, 2014
According to a recent study, women remain highly underrepresented in STEM, and face significant barriers in entering these fields, including lower entry-level roles and lower salaries than their male counterparts.
The study, conducted by non-profit organisation Catalyst, also reported that 73% of female respondents noted "feeling like an outsider" in these industries.