May 16, 2023
Big Think recently published an article featuring Shulamit Kahn, Associate Professor of Markets, Public Policy, and Law discussing her research analyzing gender bias in academic science.
Despite performing similar or even identical work, women in science have historically been viewed as less capable than men. Researchers have found that women face greater barriers to getting hired and promoted than men. In spite of this, there is evidence that contradicts the notion of gender bias. To determine whether or not gender bias remains a significant barrier for female researchers, Kahn teamed up with professors Stephen Ceci and Wendy Williams to merge their opposing perspectives and collaborate on a comprehensive review of the published data on gender bias in STEM disciplines.
They wrote, “Throughout the years spent working on it, we tempered each other’s statements and abandoned irreconcilable points, so that what survived is a consensus document.”
In terms of grant funding, journal acceptances, and recommendation letters, male and female researchers perform equally well. Additionally, women receive more job offers than men for the same number of applications at equal or higher rates than men. However, women are disadvantaged when it comes to teacher ratings and salaries. Despite performing just as well in class, female professors tend to be rated lower by students than male professors. It’s also true that female academic researchers are paid less than their male counterparts, but the gap isn’t as wide as commonly perceived. The study contradicts the myth that academic science has an overarching gender bias, the authors write. However, they pointed out that their findings are “rooted in recent decades and in no way negate or deny the existence of gender bias in the past.”