500 Women Scientists is a left-of-center environmentalist and political activism organization that advocates for women’s equality in science and technology fields of work. The organization was founded by Jane Zelikova and Kelly Ramirez, both environmental scientists and left-of-center activists.
Open Letter from and to Female Scientists
500 Women Scientists was recognized by the IRS as a tax-exempt organization in 2017. The same year, following the results of the 2016 presidential election, the organization released what it titled “An Open Letter from and to Female Scientists.” The letter was originally released online and later published in Scientific American, Forbes, and numerous online media outlets. The letter aimed to address the supposed “hateful rhetoric towards minorities, women, LBGTQIA, immigrants, and people with disabilities, coupled with the barrage of anti-science and anti-knowledge sentiment” of President Donald Trump. The letter claimed that science was under attack, that democracy was in danger, and conveyed many more alarmist sentiments. 1
Open Letter Against Bill Nye
500 Women Scientists penned a letter against Bill Nye, an outspoken ex-children’s entertainer turned liberal political activist, due to his accepting an invitation to the 2018 State of the Union Address from the Republican administrator of NASA, Jim Bridenstine. The letter claimed that science needed to be associated with liberal talking points and that Nye was undermining science and “implicitly supported a stance that would diminish the agency’s work studying our own planet and its changing climate.” Furthermore, the letter reads “we cannot stand by while Nye uses his public persona as a science entertainer to support an administration that is expressly xenophobic, homophobic, misogynistic, racist, ableist, and anti-science.” The letter was published in Scientific American and Daily Kos, a far-left for-profit news outlet created by Markos Moulitsas. 2 3
Tamara Zelikova is an ecosystem ecologist, political activist, filmmaker, and co-president of 500 Women Scientists. She previously worked as a research scientist at the U.S. Department of Energy. She left her position after Trump was elected. She claims to have “cried her eyes out,” due to the fact that the President was skeptic about the climate change theories she studied. 4
Kelly Ramirez is a soil microbial ecologist, activist, and co-president of 500 Women Scientists. She currently studies ecology in the Netherlands. 5
Rukmani Vijayaraghavan is a director at 500 Women Scientists. She currently serves as a AIP/AAAS Congressional Science Fellow in the office of Democratic Congressman Derek Kilmer. 6
Charise Johnson is a member of the leadership board for 500 Women Scientists. She currently works as a policy associate at the London-based environmentalist organization Sense about Science. She previously worked as a research analyst and associate at Union of Concerned Scientists, a D.C.-based environmentalist organization, and has volunteered for March for Science, a protest organization that organizes marches across the country in the name of climate activism. 7
500 Women Scientists received tax-exempt status in 2017. The organization received $11,762 in contributions and grants in 2017. The organization spent a total of $6,190 in the same year. No employees received compensation. 8
- “Open Letter to and from Women Scientists.” Scientific American, 500 Women Scientists. June 16, 2019. https://blogs.scientificamerican.com/voices/an-open-letter-from-and-to-female-scientists/.
- “Group ‘500 Women Scientists’ Disowns Bill Nye on Scientific American.” Daily Kos. Accessed June 16, 2019. https://www.dailykos.com/stories/2018/1/30/1737318/-Scientific-American-condemns-Bill-Nye
- “Bill Nye Does Not Speak for Us and He Does Not Speak for Science.” Scientific American, 500 Women Scientists. Accessed June 16, 2019. https://blogs.scientificamerican.com/observations/bill-nye-does-not-speak-for-us-and-he-does-not-speak-for-science/
- “Meet Jane, a Climate Scientist Who Fled Trump’s Government.” High Country News. Accessed June 16, 2019. https://www.hcn.org/issues/49.9/meet-jane-a-climate-scientist-who-fled-trumps-government.
- “User Profile: Kelly Ramirez.” LinkedIn. Accessed June 16, 2019. https://www.linkedin.com/in/kelly-s-ramirez/.
- “User Profile: Rukmani Vijayaraghavan.” LinkedIn. Accessed June 16, 2019. https://www.linkedin.com/in/rukmani-vijayaraghavan/
- “User Profile: Charise Johnson.” LinkedIn. Accessed June 16, 2019. https://www.linkedin.com/in/charise-johnson/.
- IRS Form 990-EZ: Return of Organization Exempt from Income Tax. Accessed June 16, 2019. https://990s.foundationcenter.org/990_pdf_archive/821/821435767/821435767_201712_990EZ.pdf.