Gender bias in the sciences

The internets have been buzzing lately with a new study that shows gender bias in the sciences. Per their results, women are less likely to be hired on as lab assistants, offered lower salaries than men, and deemed less competent. All this was in an experimental setting. There isn’t even some fancy statistical tricks that econometricians are super proud of to prove their results. The exact same resume was distributed to potential employers with a randomly selected name that was either typically male or typically female. On the same application, the mere appearance of a woman’s name led to fewer offers and much more criticism.

I haven’t read the paper yet, but it immediately brought to mind a similar experiment undertaken by economist Marianne Bertrand on race, published in 2004: Are Emily and Greg more employable than Lakisha and Jamal?, where employers were offered identical resumes with the names changed. Some got a resume with a generic sounding “white” name and others received the same resume with a name more common among the black population. Not surprisingly, Emily and Greg got higher ratings than Lakisha and Jamal. Just, unfortunately, as unsurprising as Jennifer receiving lower marks for competence, offered lower salaries and being offered the job less often than John.


Author: ekfletch

I am an independent researcher on issues of gender, labor, violence, education, and children.

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