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Research Finds No Gender Bias in Academic Science

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Institutions and higher education may be looking at the wrong thing, an author said.

Credit: Berlin Institute of Health

Claims of widespread gender bias in tenure-track hiring, grant funding, and journal acceptances in the academic sciences are not supported by data, according to a study published in Psychological Science in the Public Interest.

The paper looks at two decades of research regarding biases that tenure-track women have faced since 2000. In the end, the authors determine that tenure-track women in STEM fields are at parity with men in tenure-track positions in the same fields when it comes to grant funding, journal acceptances, and recommendation letters.

Women did have an advantage in the hiring process for the tenure-track jobs, though the evidence shows a bias against women in teaching evaluations and salaries. The salary gap, according to the report, is concerning but smaller than an oft-quoted statistic. On average, the gap was 9 cents on the dollar.

"This emphasis on looking exclusively for gender bias in all aspects of science academia is actually doing a disservice to women and to science, perpetuating myths that the weight of the evidence doesn't support," co-author Shulamit Kahn, an associate professor at Boston University, writes in a summary.

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