Academic Scientists Are Seriously Biased Against Women and There’s Science to Prove It


Women working in STEM fields may have to stare into the beady, clown-eyes (clowns are bad news, you guys) of stereotype bias on a daily basis, but a new study suggests, all empirical-like, that academic scientists are, on average, biased against women in pretty much every way employers can be biased against prospective job candidates.

The study, published in PNAS by Corinne Moss-Racusin and her Yale collaborators, sought to test scientists’ reactions to male and female job applicants. To that end, researchers did a randomized, double-blind study in which academic scientists were given application materials from a student applying for a fancy lab manager position. Though the applications were identical, researchers attached either a male or female name to the resume, and then, presumably, did what all good researchers do when test subjects are busy puzzling over material — waited behind a fake office fern and observed (binoculars optional).

The dismal results went something (exactly) like this: female applicants were rated lower (by both male and female scientists) than male applicants on scales of competence, hiring, and mentoring (i.e. whether a scientist would want to spend time guiding this novitiate through the labyrinth of academic science). I know — this totally sucks. Discover‘s Sean Carroll thinks so too, which is probably why his helpful bar graphs — one of which illustrates how scientists overwhelming wanted to offer female applicants waaaaaay less in starting salary — are in black and white.

Scientists, Your Gender Bias Is Showing [Discover Blog]

Image via .schock/Shutterstock.

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