"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.