That Glass Half Empty

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A special issue of the journal Nature exposes the continuing taint of sexism in science.

This blog prefers to talk about victories over time, and how things HAVE changed. Now women are earning half of the doctoral degrees in science and engineering. Still, the authors of the Nature package point to some continuing and distressing problems—that only one fifth of full professors in STEM fields are women. Nor are women sitting on the scientific advisory boards of start-up companies in rates equivalent to the population.

One insidious problem, one of the papers points out, is gender bias, whether overt or unconscious. Even women scientists can fall prey to this, according to neurobiologist Jennifer Raymond. She admitted that her performance on the Implicit Association Test, which measures unconscious associations between concepts, revealed a tendency, shared by women and men across the world, to associate men with science and career, and women with liberal arts and family

Presumably being vigilant about this—and learning about it—helps. Raymond lists some ways to overcome the bias, including by raising awareness of gender bias. Check out the others, too.

LS

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