|Biased Distribution of Male and Female Scientific Award Recipients|
|SciMed - Horizons|
|TS-Si News Service|
|Wednesday, 09 May 2012 02:00|
Washington, DC, USA. A study in Social Studies of Science shows that males win scientific awards more than 95% of the time when men chair committees that select the recipients.
In the past two decades women have begun to win more awards, compared to men, but they win more service and teaching awards and fewer of the prestigious scholarly awards than would be expected based on their representation in the nomination pool.
The researchers analyzed the composition of award committees in order to explain why there is such a large disparity between male and female scientific award recipients. They found that committees that were chaired by men awarded 95.1% of their prizes to men despite the fact that women made up 21% of the nomination pools. While having women on a committee did increase the chances that women were awarded prizes, women made up only 19.5% of the average award committee and male chairs trumped any effect of having women on the committee.
"On the face of them, awards for women may not raise concerns … yet women-only awards can camouflage women's underrepresentation by inflating the number of female award recipients, leading to the impression that no disparities exist."
"The fact that women are honored twice as often for service as for scholarship may arise from … the tacit assumption that scientists and rigorous scholars are men, and that women are incongruent with the scientist role."
"Professional societies must inform leadership and awards committees about such bias."
Study AuthorsResearchers Anne E. Lincoln, Stephanie Pincus, Janet Bandows Koster, and Phoebe S. Leboy studied the dissemination of awards given by 13 societies from the disciplines of science, technology, engineering, and medicine (STEM) between 1991 and 2010.
This disparity grew instead of diminishing between the years of 2001 and 2010.
The researchers suggested some possible solutions to this problem such as
ParticipationAnne E. Lincoln, Department of Sociology, Southern Methodist University (SMU), Dallas, TX, USA
Stephanie Pincus, Society for Women’s Health Research (SWHR), Washington, DC, USA
Janet Bandows Koster, Association for Women in Science (AWIS), Alexandria, VA, USA
Phoebe S. Leboy, Department of Biochemistry, University of Pennsylvania (Penn), Philadelphia, PA, USA
CitationThe Matilda Effect in science: Awards and prizes in the US, 1990s and 2000s. Anne E. Lincoln, Stephanie Pincus, Janet Bandows Koster, Phoebe S. Leboy. Social Studies of Science 2012;
Science is stratified, with an unequal distribution of research facilities and rewards among scientists. Awards and prizes, which are critical for shaping scientific career trajectories, play a role in this stratification when they differentially enhance the status of scientists who already have large reputations: the Matthew Effect. Contrary to the Mertonian norm of universalism the expectation that the personal attributes of scientists do not affect evaluations of their scientific claims and contributions in practice, a great deal of evidence suggests that the scientific efforts and achievements of women do not receive the same recognition as do those of men: the Matilda Effect. Awards in science, technology, engineering and medical (STEM) fields are not immune to these biases. We outline the research on gender bias in evaluations of research and analyze data from 13 STEM disciplinary societies. While women’s receipt of professional awards and prizes has increased in the past two decades, men continue to win a higher proportion of awards for scholarly research than expected based on their representation in the nomination pool. The results support the powerful twin influences of implicit bias and committee chairs as contributing factors. The analysis sheds light on the relationship of external social factors to women’s science careers and helps to explain why women are severely underrepresented as winners of science awards. The ghettoization of women’s accomplishments into a category of women-only awards also is discussed.
Keywords: awards, gender, ghettoization, implicit bias, Matthew Effect, prizes, science, universalism.
|Last Updated on Wednesday, 09 May 2012 07:22|