Friday, October 26, 2012

Women in Science. From HuffPo.

"We need the
chicks to wash
the beakers!"
(NOT affiliated
with Beaker Ben.)
by Rui Dai
Student, Duke University

Gender inequality is inherently unfair. More importantly, it also discourages young girls from pursuing dreams that could one day change the world. It dashes potential revolutions before they can even begin. Appointing females to more important positions and actively mentoring female students in scientific research will not only generate new ideas, but also have reverberating effects on culture in general.
Recently in PNAS, researchers from Yale University published an inherently simple finding that asked scientists to review fake applications from a student aspiring to become a scientist. All the applications were identical except for one factor: gender. Half of the applications indicated that the applicant was male, the other half female. The results indicated that scientists, both male and female, were less willing to mentor the female applicant than her male counterpart. Despite the fact that women are earning more degrees in biology than men, this indicates a continual bias against women in science.
There are many reasons why this bias continues to exist. It is not the first study of its kind. There are dozens, if not hundreds of articles that document the gender inequality in academia. Between 1995 and 1996, a large-scale study published in 2004 surveyed 1814 full-time medical school professionals and found that female medical faculty were paid less and were less likely to be full professors in comparison to male faculty with similar professional roles and achievement. Similar finding have been reported with numerous variations in different articles at different times. Recently in June of 2012, the Journal of American Medical Association published an article that found that there was a distinct pay gap between male and female physicians.

Full Article.


  1. A lot of mansplaining going on in those comments.

  2. We're scientists. We are supposed to be objective. Can we help it if that means we objectify women? It's part of the scientific method.

  3. My president is a woman. My dean is a woman. My departmental chair is a woman.
    Maybe it is limited to the wet sciences, plus the fact that in the past there was a real unbalance. It may be just anecdotal evidence, but I see that 60-70% of the new hires in the humanities are women.

  4. Every time I've seen things like this for the past 20 years now, I've wanted to scream, WHY are you encouraging young people, female or male, to go into science, when the job market is so stinky, and when the few jobs that are available have devolved into being so incredibly stinky? A Ph.D. in science nowadays will get one strung along as a postdoc for more than half of one's life, too often ending in nothing more than a handshake. One reason that more women don't go into science is precisely because they are NOT stupid.

    A discussion of this at greater length is here:


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