Gender gap

Controversial NYT article — “Academic Science Isn’t Sexist”

If you haven’t already seen it…

http://www.nytimes.com/2014/11/02/opinion/sunday/academic-science-isnt-sexist.html?_r=1

This certainly offers a different perspective on the question of female success/the glass ceiling in academia. There is some good news here but the question of “professional climate” which they describe as “largely anecdotal” may be less amenable to their methodology–job satisfaction–than they suggest. The authors do analyze reporting of sexist behavior and other climate related measures for NSF ADVANCE institutions, which are required to report on certain measures of professional and institutional climate.

The NYT article paints a rosier picture than their publication in Psychological Science, which I have linked below. The publication is much more nuanced, so I suggest taking a look. It is full of useful data and citations. The authors suggest barriers to women in academia are “rooted in pre-college factors and the subsequent likelihood of majoring in these fields,” suggesting that “future research should focus on these barriers rather than misdirecting attention toward historical barriers that no longer account for women’s underrepresentation in academic science.” This idea of path dependency is a notable, and I think, worthwhile consideration to take into account when examining the gender gap in academia. However, the idea that historical barriers no longer exist cannot be fully justified even by their own evidence; it should stand as a topic of debate.

The link to the publication is here: http://www.psychologicalscience.org/pdf/Women-Academic-Science.pdf

What do you think? Comments are open.

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