Kay Steiger

Science documents discrimination against women in science

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Via Inside Higher Ed, a new study in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences looking at responses to female and male applicants to a science position at a research-intensive university found gender discrimination exists in the sciences.

Faculty participants rated the male applicant as significantly more competent and hireable than the (identical) female applicant. These participants also selected a higher starting salary and offered more career mentoring to the male applicant. The gender of the faculty participants did not affect responses, such that female and male faculty were equally likely to exhibit bias against the female student.

This means men were deemed more qualified and competent in a science setting, even if women were making the judgement. Study participants also dramatically increased the recommended salary for men. The researchers concluded, “These results suggest that interventions addressing faculty gender bias might advance the goal of increasing the participation of women in science.”

The problem of increasing women in the sciences has been a long and highly contested one. Lots point to conflicts between family and work, but this study seems to say that there are still underlying biases based simply on perception of gender, regardless of whether that person has children.

Some charts from the research:


Written by kaysteiger

September 21, 2012 at 12:21 PM

Posted in STEM

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