Oct 01 2012

New study shows measurable bias against women in science

Inside Higher Ed. has an article about a new study that betrays the existence of a not-so-subtle bias against females in the sciences. The study involved sending hypothetical student resumes to scientists to evaluate as potential new hires. Qualifications were identical except that half the resumes listed a female name, and the other half listed a male name. The results were anything but equal.

For instance, the scientists were asked to rate the students’ competence on a 5-point scale. Male faculty rated the male student 4.01 and the female student 3.33. Female scientists rated the male student 4.10 and the female student 3.32. On salary, the gaps were also notable. The average salary suggested by male scientists for the male student was $30,520; for the female student, it was $27,111. Female scientists recommended, on average, a salary of $29,333 for the male student and $25,000 for the female student.

I wonder what Christina Hoff Sommers will say?


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  1. 1
    1. 1.1
      Deacon Duncan

      Thanks for supplying the link—I meant to have it in the post itself, honest!

  2. 2

    Do you have a link to the original story? I would like to read the full thing.

  3. 3
    Giliell, professional cynic -Ilk-

    “Paper people” studies are rather well known to show such biases.
    It gets even worse when mothers are pinned against fathers.
    They can also show how people who claim to evalutate candidates according to qualification only will make the criteria fit the candidate, not vice versa. So, if the man has experience but the woman a higher formal qualification, experience will be more important. If the guy has the formal qualification and she has experience, the formal qualification is more important.
    Oh, and the more people are convinced that they are objective, the worse they are.

  4. 4

    Women are more biased against other women than men, according to this data! Something I’ve noticed personally as well; I’m aware that I get taken more seriously than a woman at a conference or meeting presenting data. When I looked in more detail, I noticed it was just as much or more the women in the audience as the men.

  5. 5
    One Day Soon I Shall Invent A Funny Login

    Here is the link to Inside Higher Ed but it is only summarizing a PNAS paper (abstract).

  6. 6

    Strange that the women rated and suggested salaried other women lower than the men did.

    1. 6.1
      Giliell, professional cynic -Ilk-

      Why is it strange? They worked from their own reference frame as well. She wouldn’t suggest a higher salary for the new young woman than she gets herself.

      1. tacotaco

        The women in the study showed a greater bias against female applicants in all categories, including competence and hireability, not just the suggested salary.

  7. 7

    I’m fairly sure the last CV I sent out was intentionally free of any gender markers.

    I’m fairly sure the next one will be, too.

  8. 8

    Thanks for the heads up hey – I wrote my take on the whole thing in my column (which a link back to here.)

    1. 8.1
      Anonymous Atheist

      Your link is missing.

  9. 9

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