Gender and Science


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Why are women leaving academia, and what can we do about it?

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  • | Guys and girls, what is your take on the following topic? | Iremember sending David some draft, and being all apologetic becausethat's just what you do when you are a girl. Then I was really shockedwhen he called me on it because I remember thinking "but what I justsent him was actually really awesome". But pointing out the faults ofyour work is just what you are supposed to do as a girl. I think itsthe same basic thing as when someone says "sorry about the messyhouse" when you come for a visit and everything is shiny-shiny. Whatit really can mean is "Hey, it is pretty self-evident that my houselooks great, I just wanted to tell you that I can do an even BETTERjob than that because I am so awesome". The thing is, other girls canread into that implicit message. Guys just hear "she didn't think shedid a good job". But it doesn't really mean that. It really is,sometimes, like we are speaking two different languages.Like ·  · Unfollow PostSergey Stavisky This is something I've talked about with several womenneuroscientist colleagues. They've also found themselves doing thisand suspect it's detrimental to their careers because others,especially men, tend to view it as one or more of: 1.) a sign of lackof confidence, 2.) a passive way to ask for praise/reassurance, 3.)poor estimation of the quality of one's own work. I think it's goodfor everyone to be aware of different styles of communication andpresenting of oneself, but until we live in that more enlightenedworld I also think it's prudent to try to avoid doing this.15 minutes ago · Like · 1Heida Maria Sigurdardottir I think you are right, and I am certainlymore aware of doing this now. However, I do want that enlightenedworld. Working on it...11 minutes ago · LikeHeida Maria Sigurdardottir I am also wondering if it is somethingcultural as well, and not just something that has to do with gender. Ithink that Nordic cultures are not as individualistic as U.S. culture,and don't value someone standing out or making a big deal out ofhis/her individual achievements.8 minutes ago · Edited · LikeSergey Stavisky That may very well be; the effect is probably evenstronger in far eastern cultures. In my program there's a reading anddiscussion group run by Profs. Jennifer Raymond, Miriam Goodman, andLu Chen entitled "Gender Issues in Neuroscience" that meets everymonth and talks about just these kind of issues. Maybe something likethat could be started at Brown!5 minutes ago · LikeHeida Maria Sigurdardottir That is actually a very interestingpossibility. Maybe I'll start with a "special issue" journal club.4 minutes ago · LikeSergey Stavisky Cool! I'll forward you the prompts and backgroundreadings from the last few instances of the one here, it might giveyou some ideas of where to start.2 minutes ago · LikeHeida Maria Sigurdardottir Definitely! I'll talk it over with myjournal club "co-director", Michelle Fogerson.about a minute ago · Like
  • * Preliminary results based on Survival Analysis of theSurvey of Doctorate Recipients (a national biennial longitudinal data set funded by the National Science Foundation and others, 1979 to 1995). Percentages take into account disciplinary, age, ethnicity, PhD calendar year, time-to-PhD degree, and National Research Council academic reputation rankings of PhD program effects. For each event (PhD to TT job procurement, or Associate to Full Professor), data is limited to a maximum of 16 years. The waterline is an artistic rendering of the statistical effects of family and gender.
  • In the next task, you will be presented with a set of words or images to classify into groups. This task requires that you classify items as quickly as you can while making as few mistakes as possible. Going too slow or making too many mistakes will result in an uninterpretable score. This part of the study will take about 5 minutes. The following is a list of category labels and the items that belong to each of those categories. CategoryItemsMaleMan, Boy, Father, Male, Grandpa, Husband, Son, UncleFemaleGirl, Female, Aunt, Daughter, Wife, Woman, Mother, GrandmaScienceBiology, Physics, Chemistry, Math, Geology, Astronomy, EngineeringLiberalArtsPhilosophy, Humanities, Arts, Literature, English, Music, History Keep in mindKeep your index fingers on the 'e' and 'i' keys to enable rapid response.Two labels at the top will tell you which words or images go with each key.Each word or image has a correct classification. Most of these are easy.Sort items by their category membership. Words in green should be categorized with the green labels. Words in white should be categorized with the white labels.The test gives no results if you go slow -- Please try to go as fast as possible.Expect to make a few mistakes because of going fast. That's OK.For best results, make sure that your monitor is set to maximum brightness and avoid distractions.
  • Bylur hæst í tómri tunnu. An empty barrel makes the loudest sound.
  • We used data fromthe 2003 Programme forInternational Student Assessment (PISA) that reports on276,165 15-year-old studentsfrom 40 countries who tookidentical tests in mathematicsand readingCountries with low levels of gender equality had larger gender gaps in mathematics. These results held up even when the researchers controlled for the economic development levels of the countries.The girls’ success in gender equal societies didn’t come at the expense of boys: Everyone’s scores were higher, in both math and in reading. 
  • “Research profiled in chapter 9 shows that people not only associate math and science with “male” but also often hold negative opinions of women in “masculine” positions, like scientists or engineers. This research shows that people judge women to be less competent than men in “male” jobs unless women are clearly successful in their work. When a woman is clearly competent in a “masculine” job, she is considered to be less likable. Because both likability and competence are needed for success in the workplace, women in STEM fields can find themselves in a double bind.” [Why so few:]
  • a difference in average math performance between girls and boys no longer exists in the general school population (Hyde et al., 2008)“On high-stakes math tests, however, boys continue to outscore girls, albeit by a small margin. A small gender gap persists on the mathematics section of the SAT and the ACT examinations (Halpern, Benbow, et al., 2007; AAUW, 2008). Fewer girls than boys take advanced placement (AP) exams in STEM-related subjects such as calculus, physics, computer science, and chemistry (see figure 3), and girls who take STEM AP exams earn lower scores than boys earn on average (see figure 4). Research on “stereotype threat,” profiled in chapter 3, sheds light on the power of stereotypes to undermine girls’ math test performance and may help explain the puzzle of girls’ strong classroom performance and relatively weaker performance on high-stakes tests such as these. ”
  • The researchers also studied the percentage of students of each sex among the top scorers on the test. In the gender-equal countries, girls made up half or more of those who scored in the top one percent. The sex ratio of top performers is especially important because these students are the ones most likely to excel in careers in science and engineering. Summers had suggested that because of biological differences, it is nearly inevitable that a much higher percentage of these top performers will be boys.
  • Interestingly, our data suggest that employing others to help with core housework is characteristic of highly productive science faculty (where productivity is defined as total self-reported number of published articles over one’s career) even after rank, gender, salary, and one’s own share of labor are controlled (analysis was limited to scientists in dual-career partnerships). This is true for both women and men—we often find that practices that are good for women’s careers also assist men in reaching their career goals.
  • “I don’t think these data are conclusive, because the numbers in the figure are also influenced by cohort replacement.”
  • The second and third points of leakage are at the associate and full professorship stages, where, again, among those married women (both with and without young children) who secured tenure track positions, a disproportionately high number do not advance to the next professional level.Why is this happening? In their responses to the President's Work and Family Survey active UC ladder-rank faculty frequently cited considerable difficulties in achieving a balance between work and family. These difficulties appear to be especially pressing for women faculty. The data collected in this survey has allowed us to isolate one key reason for the leaks in the academic pipeline: the work-family balance.
  • Gender and Science

    1. 1. Gender and Science"Woman teaching geometry“Illustration at the beginning ofa medieval translation of EuclidsElements (c. 1310 AD)
    2. 2. Overview• Women are leaving academia• Why? – Implicit biases • What is valued? – Unique challenges • Juggling roles• What to do? – Change society – Change our minds
    3. 3. Overview• Women are leaving academia• Why? – Implicit biases • What is valued? – Unique challenges • Juggling roles• What to do? – Change society – Change our minds
    4. 4. “Everyone has their role”
    5. 5. More women earn doctoratesTaken from:
    6. 6. After that…Taken from:
    7. 7. 27% women
    8. 8. 40% women
    9. 9. Discrepancies• Women faculty are: – paid less – promoted more slowly – receive fewer honors – hold fewer leadership positions• These discrepancies not based on: – productivity – significance of their work – any other measure of performanceSlide from:
    10. 10. Overview• Women are leaving academia• Why? – Implicit biases • What is valued? – Unique challenges • Juggling roles• What to do? – Change society – Change our minds
    11. 11. Biases against women, by men and women• “Overall, scientists and engineers who are women… have had to function in environments that favor—sometimes deliberately but often inadvertently—men. Accumulation of disadvantage becomes especially acute in more senior positions.” [my emphasis]• “Well-qualified and highly productive women scientists also contend with continuing questioning of their own abilities in science and mathematics and their commitment to an academic career.” *my emphasis+Taken from:
    12. 12. Science faculty’s subtle gender biases favor male students• “Faculty participants rated the male applicant *for a laboratory manager position] as significantly more competent and hireable than the (identical) female applicant.“• “These participants also selected a higher starting salary and offered more career mentoring to the male applicant.”• “…female and male faculty were equally likely to exhibit bias against the female student” *my emphasis]Moss-Racusin CA, Dovidio JF, Brescoll VL, Graham MJ, Handelsman J. Proc Natl AcadSci U S A. 2012 Oct 9; 109(41):16474-9
    13. 13. Impact of gender on the review of curricula vitae• “…both male and female academicians were significantly more likely to hire a potential male colleague than an equally qualified potential female colleague. “• “Furthermore, both male and female participants were more likely to positively evaluate the research, teaching, and service contributions of a male job applicant than a female job applicant with an identical record.” *my emphasis+Rhea E . Steinpreis, Katie A . A nders, and Dawn Ritzke. Sex Roles, Vol. 41, No s. 7/8,1999.
    14. 14. IAT: Women and science• Male – Man, Boy, Father, Male, Grandpa, Husband, Son, Uncle• Female – Girl, Female, Aunt, Daughter, Wife, Woman, Mother, Grandma• Science – Biology, Physics, Chemistry, Math, Geology, Astronomy, Engineering• Liberal Arts – Philosophy, Humanities, Arts, Literature, English, Music, History
    15. 15. I am strongly biased• “Your data suggest a strong association of Male with Science and Female with Liberal Arts compared to Female with Science and Male with Liberal Arts.”• Automatic association between Male and Science – Responded faster when: • Male names and Science words were classified with the same key • Female names and Liberal Arts words were classified with the same key
    16. 16. Really bad: Thinking you are unbiased when you really are • “When people believe that they are objective, they feel licensed to act on biases whose influence they may have otherwise suppressed due to personal and social inhibitions.“ • “To the extent that individuals harbor stereotypic thoughts and beliefs, as many do (Devine et al., 1991), such a state of self-perceived objectivity may increase gender discrimination.”E.L. Uhlmann, G.L. Cohen / Organizational Behavior and Human Decision Processes (2007)
    17. 17. Women’s own biases toward themselves “Participants were given evidence that contrast sensitivity ability was either an ability that men were more likely to have (male advantage or “MA” condition) or an ability that showed no gender difference… “ “In the MA condition, women believed they had to earn a score of at least 89 percent to be successful, but men felt that a minimum score of 79 percent was sufficient to be successful... This finding suggests that women hold themselves to a higher standard than their male peers do in “masculine” fields.”Why so few:
    18. 18. Overview• Women are leaving academia• Why? – Implicit biases • What is valued? – Unique challenges • Juggling roles• What to do? – Change society – Change our minds
    19. 19. What qualities are valued? • “…qualities mentioned in recommendation letters for women differ sharply from those for men” – Female candidates described in more communal (social or emotive) terms – Male candidates in more agentic (active or assertive) terms • “…letter writers included more doubt raisers when recommending women” – "She might make an excellent leader“ – "He is already an established leader“ • "The more communal characteristics mentioned, the lower the evaluation of the candidate."Read more at:
    20. 20. Recommendation letters could cost women jobs, promotions Communal Agentic • Affectionate • Confident • Helpful • Aggressive • Kind • Ambitious • Dominant • Sympathetic • Forceful • Nurturing • Independent • Tactful • Daring • Agreeable • Outspoken • Helping others • Intellectual • Taking direction well • Speaking assertively • Influencing others • Initiating tasksRead more at:
    21. 21. Our public image Why are these bad?!?• Too kind? Too nurturing? Too agreeable?• Not aggressive enough? Not dominant Why are these enough? Not forceful enough? good?!?
    22. 22. Arbitrary and subjective evaluation criteria• Characteristics that are often selected for and are believed to relate to scientific creativity— namely assertiveness and single-mindedness—are given greater weight• Other characteristics may be more vital to success in science and engineering – flexibility, diplomacy, curiosity, motivation, dedication• At the same time, assertiveness and single- mindedness are stereotyped as socially unacceptable traits for women. [my emphasis]Slide from:
    23. 23. Overview• Women are leaving academia• Why? – Implicit biases • What is valued? – Unique challenges • Juggling roles• What to do? – Change society – Change our minds
    24. 24. Women need to have children before they reach a certain ageTaken from:
    25. 25. (Not) having children• 48% of tenure track women do not have childrenTaken from:
    26. 26. Scientists Want More Children• Female scientists at top universities – Have fewer children than their male colleagues – More likely to say that, due to the science career, they have fewer children than they want• Yet having fewer children than desired has a greater impact on mens life satisfaction• Young scientists who have had fewer children than wished are more likely to plan to exit science entirelyEcklund EH, Lincoln AE (2011) Scientists Want More Children. PLoS ONE 6(8): e22590.doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0022590
    27. 27. Old, outdated system• “Structural constraints and expectations built into academic institutions assume that faculty members have substantial spousal support. Anyone lacking the work and family support traditionally provided by a “wife” is at a serious disadvantage in academe.”• “36% of men, compared to only 8% of women, have spouses who stay at home”Taken from:
    28. 28. “Nearly sixty-hour workweeks, combined with a disproportionate share of household labor and child care, make young women think twice about careers in academic science”Londa Schiebinger and Shannon K. Gilmartin: Mason andGoulden put it in their 2004 Academe article, “Do Babies Matter? (Part II)
    29. 29. Don’t forget the men • “The nearly one-third of those studied in the egalitarian category talked in their interviews of many of the same pressures that female scientists with families experience -- especially "extreme hours and intricate schedules.“” • “Many discussed the need to sacrifice (especially sleep and leisure time) to try to make it all work.”Read more: Higher Ed
    30. 30. We can’t afford to lose these people• “*Mason’s and Goulden’s] recent research indicates that women PhDs turn away from academic science because they face a culture that precludes time and responsibility for home, family, and life.“• “Considering the cost of training PhD scientists, this is an expensive proposition for science and society.”Londa Schiebinger and Shannon K. Gilmartin: Mason andGoulden put it in their 2004 Academe article, “Do Babies Matter? (Part II)
    31. 31. Overview• Women are leaving academia• Why? – Implicit biases • What is valued? – Unique challenges • Juggling roles• What to do? – Change society – Change our minds
    32. 32. Gender equality closes the math gap Iceland! USAGuiso, L., Monte, F., Sapienza, P., and Zingales, L. 2008. Culture, Gender, and Math. Science320 (May 30): 1164.
    33. 33. What makes a country gender equal?• The Global Gender Gap Index 2012 – economic participation and opportunity – educational attainment – health and survival – political empowerment
    34. 34. Greatest step toward gender equality in Iceland• Paid parental leave for everyone, men and women
    35. 35. Academia needs to change• “When will we start worrying less about the pipelines leaks and do more to address the corrosive nature of the pipe that we funnel people through?” (Micella Phoenix DeWhyse,• Why would you change a system that: – Favors you? – You don’t realize needs changing?
    36. 36. Overview• Women are leaving academia• Why? – Implicit biases • What is valued? – Unique challenges • Juggling roles• What to do? – Change society – Change our minds
    37. 37. You cannot change what you don’t realize needs changing• “I give my male colleagues endless grief when they organize symposia and forget to invite women speakers. Most women are as well- respected as their male colleagues, but still forgotten when invitations are extended and awards, and other honors, are decided. Ironically, today’s bias usually results from lack of attention, rather than from malicious intent. But the rejoinder of, “Oh, I didn’t notice that I had invited 20 men and no women” infuriates me… because I know that all of the young women in the field do notice.” *my emphasis+Eve Marder. Current Biology Vol 20 No 10
    38. 38. What kind ofsociety do wewant to live in?
    39. 39. Extra slides
    40. 40. Underrepresentation of women 60 50Percentage of Women 40 30 20 10 0 Biological scientists Environmental scientists and Computer programmers Chemical engineers Electrical and electronics geoscientists engineers Taken from U.S. Department of Labor, Bureau of Labor Statistics, 2009, Women in the labor force: A databook (Report 1018) (Washington, DC), Table 11.
    41. 41. “Math gap”
    42. 42. Guiso, L., Monte, F., Sapienza, P., and Zingales, L. 2008. Culture, Gender, and Math. Science320 (May 30): 1164.
    43. 43. Report: Beyond Bias and Barriers• “On the average, people are less likely to hire a woman than a man with identical qualifications”• “People are less likely to ascribe credit to a woman than to a man for identical accomplishments”• “When information or time is scarce, people will far more often give the benefit of the doubt to a man than to a woman”Taken from:
    44. 44. The Impact of Gender on the Review of the Curricula Vitae of Job Applicants and Tenure Candidates: A National Empirical Study• Participants: 238 male and female academic psychologistsRhea E . Steinpreis, Katie A . Anders, and Dawn Ritzke. Sex Roles, Vol. 41, No s.7/8, 1999.
    45. 45. Housework is an academic issue• “Partnered women scientists at places like Stanford University do 54 percent of the cooking, cleaning, and laundry in their households”• “Partnered men scientists do just 28 percent”• “This translates to more than ten hours a week for women— in addition to the nearly sixty hours a week they are already working as scientists—and to just five hours for men”Londa Schiebinger and Shannon K. Gilmartin: Mason andGoulden put it in their 2004 Academe article, “Do Babies Matter? (Part II)
    46. 46. Child care• “…women scientists do 54 percent of parenting labor in their households, and men scientists do 36 percent (“parenting labor” refers to physical, psychosocial, and intellectual responsibilities).• “women who have children within five years of receiving their doctorate are less likely to achieve tenure than are men with “early babies.” “*early *cough cough*]Londa Schiebinger and Shannon K. Gilmartin: Mason andGoulden put it in their 2004 Academe article, “Do Babies Matter? (Part II)
    47. 47. Lower pitch and feelings of power• “People judge a person whose voice pitch was lowered as more powerful than the same person whose pitch was raised (Puts, Gaulin, & Verdolini, 2006; Puts, Hodges, Cardenas, & Gaulin, 2007).”• “Participants who lowered their voice pitch perceived themselves more as possessing more powerful traits… and had a higher level of abstract thinking… compared to participants who raised their voice pitch”Lowering the Pitch of Your Voice Makes You Feel More Powerful and Think More AbstractlyMarielle Stel, Eric van Dijk, Pamela K. Smith, Wilco W. van Dijk, and Farah M. Djalal
    48. 48. Awful reward schedule• “…doing research in the biological sciences has become increasingly plagued by long training periods with little positive reinforcement. “• “Therefore, many of our most smart and creative young scientists find it difficult to understand that they are making a difference. While women are as stubborn and smart as men, they may be preferentially discouraged by a field that denies them, for long periods of time, the validation of a “job well done”. Therefore, they, and many able men, leave science to find that sense of satisfaction elsewhere.”Eve Marder. Current Biology Vol 20 No 10
    49. 49. Not only the U.S.Taken from:
    50. 50. Work-Family BalanceTaken from:
    51. 51. What constitutes work?• “When combined with caregiving hours and house work, UC women faculty with children, ages 30 to 50, report a weekly average of over 100 hours of combined activities (in comparison to around 86 hours for men with children).”• “To lose talented scholars…because of our failure to provide baseline family responsive policies seems pennywise but pound foolish.” *my emphasis]Staying Competitive, Patching America’s Leaky Pipeline in the Sciences