Authors: Julia Rosen
Authors: Wendy M. Williams and Stephen J. Ceci
Department of Human Development, Cornell University, Ithaca, NY 14853, 2015.
Abstract: National randomized experiments and validation studies were conducted on 873 tenure-track faculty (439 male, 434 female) from biology, engineering, economics, and psychology at 371 universities/colleges from 50 US states and the District of Columbia. In the main experiment, 363 faculty members evaluated narrative summaries describing hypothetical female and male applicants for tenure-track assistant professorships who shared the same lifestyle (e.g., single without children, married with children). Applicants’ profiles were systematically varied to disguise identically rated scholarship; profiles were counterbalanced by gender across faculty to enable between-faculty comparisons of hiring preferences for identically qualified women versus men. Results revealed a 2:1 preference for women by faculty of both genders across both math-intensive and non–math-intensive fields,with the single exception of male economists, who showed no gender preference. Results were replicated using weighted analyses to control for national sample characteristics. In follow-up experiments, 144 faculty evaluated competing applicants with differing lifestyles (e.g., divorced mother vs. married father), and 204 faculty compared same-gender candidates with children, but differing in whether they took 1-y-parental leaves in graduate school. Women preferred divorced mothers to married fathers; men preferred mothers who took leaves to mothers who did not. In two validation studies, 35 engineering faculty provided rankings using full curricula vitae instead of narratives, and 127 faculty rated one applicant rather than choosing from a mixed-gender group; the same preference for women was shown by faculty of both genders. These results suggest it is a propitious time for women launching careers in academic science. Messages to the contrarybmay discourage women from applying for STEM (science, technology, engineering, mathematics) tenure-track assistant professorships.
The suggestion that women are not advancing in science because of innate inability is being taken seriously by some high-profile academics. Ben A. Barres explains what is wrong with the hypothesis.
Universities are failing to take advantage of an available resource: the brainpower of women scientists. In many fields of science, the proportion of women in faculty positions lags well behind the proportion of Ph.D.'s granted to women. In this Policy Forum, the authors explore the reasons for the disparity and offer examples of strategies used at research universities to overcome the impediments to recruitment, retention, and advancement of outstanding women scientists.
American society has prided itself on its concern for the fullest development of each individual's creative potential. As a nation, we have become sensitive to the social handicaps of race and class but have remained quite insensitive to those imposed because of sex. Those women who have entered the top professional fields have had to have extraordinary motivation, thick skins, exceptional ability, and some unusual pattern of socialization in order to reach their occupational destinations. In their backgrounds one is likely to find a professional mother, an unusually supportive father, or dedicated and stimulating teachers.
This article is for women who ask whether it is possible to combine motherhood with academia and still be successful and happy. It is also for those working with, bosses of, or married to such women, giving them a better feel for the challenges mothers in academia face, and the strategies that can be used to survive and thrive in both of these worlds.
In the first-ever analysis of peer-review scores for postdoctoral fellowship applications, the system is revealed as being riddled with prejudice. The policy of secrecy in evaluation must be abandoned.
Despite improvements, female scientists continue to face discrimination, unequal pay and funding disparities.
Nature, vol 528, Dec 2015