Gender bias in academia

Here’s an article about gender bias in academia, listing some more recent findings in the U.S. It also mentions some methodological difficulties with the Swedish study, Wenneras and Wold 1997. There should be lots about it in the popular press.

This is a link to a presentation by co-author Wold (PDF), not the original paper. My recollection of the bias is that women had to publish more papers and they had to be in more prestigious journals, which of course is harder to accomplish.

women drop out of academic professions

This page, Findings on Inadvertent Gender Bias in the Evaluation of Candidates, mentions several research findings including Wenneras & Wold: “A study investigating the peer review process for awarding postdoctoral fellowships from the Swedish Medical Research Council found that to be awarded the same competence score as a male colleague, a female scientist needed to publish approximately 3 extra papers in Science or Nature, or 20 extra papers in excellent specialist journals.”

It adds, “It is important to note that most participants in these studies were unaware of their tendencies towards gender bias. Good intentions do not necessarily yield unbiased decisions.”

Here’s a largeish bibliography of papers on gender bias.

And here’s a meta-analysis of gender differences in grant peer review concluding that men have about 7% advantage, which of course translates into thousands of grants.

This paper refers to a number of other papers on gender bias, including bias in medical treatment. It’s a sad fact that for many conditions, women are treated less urgently and with lesser-powered treatments. Now that’s scary.

Speaking of bias, when things get a little heated I like to remind myself that, for the same essay, typing raises it one grade over handwriting, and computer printing raises it one grade over typing.


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