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Some Good (and Less Good) News for Women In Science

Looks like the playing field is finally leveling out somewhat for women in the sciences at top research institutions and universities Stateside. A...


Looks like the playing field is finally leveling out somewhat for women in the sciences at top research institutions and universities Stateside. A new Congress-mandated report has come out showing an encouraging trend for women faculty in science, mathematics, and engineering-all fields with bad track records for equitable employment across gender lines. The report found women applicants are being hired at rates similar to men. Good stuff! There are, of course, some catches.Catch 1: When you look at the number of women with PhDs in these fields and the number of women with tenured positions in these fields, there's a pretty huge gap. The report found that women were applying at lower rates than men. Another report will hopefully figure out why.Catch 2: The report found that having women on selection committees for hiring greatly influenced a woman's chance of getting a job. That's kind of depressing, but also could lead to universities making sure qualified women make it onto these search committees, and thus become a nonissue.Catch 3: Women with comparable jobs and experience are being paid 8 percent less than men. Which is more than kind of depressing, but hopefully something that will change with published reports such as this one.Catch 4: Women spend considerably longer as assistant professors, and are not being tenured at the same rate as men. However, those who actually make it to tenure review are just as likely to get it. So it's unclear what's keeping them as assistants for longer and discouraging them from having their tenure applications submitted for formal review, but presumably it has something to do with old biases that appear to be swiftly changing, and the last catch:Catch 5: Women reported feeling marginalized in the workplace, which, says the report summary "may prevent women from accessing important information"-presumably information about these coveted tenure-track positions.So, you know, some good, some less good, but generally a pretty important report that will hopefully have an impact on correcting remaining imbalances.Image via
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