Women have an advantage in STEM hiring, study finds

Women have an advantage in STEM hiring, study finds
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“Despite common claims of sexism in academic STEM, social scientists who surveyed 20 years of scientific literature on the subject found little evidence of bias against women,” reports The College Fix. Their study examined “research regarding biases that tenure-track women [professors] have faced” in science, technology, engineering or math, according to Inside Higher Ed. The researchers reviewed academic studies published between 2000 to 2020.

They found women “are advantaged over men” when it comes to hiring, according to the abstract of the paper, published recently in the academic journal Psychological Science in the Public Interest. They also found that “tenure-track women are at parity with tenure-track men in three domains (grant funding, journal acceptances, and recommendation letters).”

“We synthesized the vast, contradictory scholarly literature on gender bias in academic science from 2000 to 2020,” wrote the study’s authors, psychologists Wendy Williams and Stephen Ceci of Cornell University and economist Shulamit Kahn of Boston University.

The study did find a small gender-based salary gap, but the study noted that it was “smaller than the oft-quoted statistic that women in STEM fields make 82 cents for every dollar that men earn,” notes Inside Higher Ed. “On average, the gap was 9 cents on the dollar, although the gap shrank to less than 4 cents when controlling for experience, type of institution and productivity, among other factors.”

It quoted Wendy Williams, one of the co-authors of the study, saying that “We’re getting really close to an equitable landscape. We’ve come 90 percent of the way, and so what stands between us and that is not an insurmountable task anymore. It’s really important for young women in college who are considering going to grad school and women in grad school who are considering becoming professors.”

Ceci stated that “the report shows that institutions are putting money where it’s not needed, such as the trainings aimed at rooting out bias on hiring committees. He and Williams questioned if the trainings are needed given that women are receiving an advantage in the hiring process.” Inside Higher Ed says that the “paper was ‘an adversarial collaboration,’” signifying that the study’s authors had divergent views on the subject when they began work on the study, rather than starting from their conclusion.

LU Staff

LU Staff

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