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Selection committees for academic recruitment: does gender matter?

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      Abstract

      Underrepresentation of women in the academic system is a problem common to many countries, often associated with gender discrimination. In the Italian academic context in particular, favoritism is recognized as a diffuse phenomenon affecting hiring and career advancement. One of the questions that naturally arises is whether women who do assume decisional roles, having witnessed other phenomena of discrimination, would practice less favoritism than men in similar positions. Our analysis refers to the particular case of favoritism in the work of university selection committees responsible for career advancement. We observe a moderate positive association between competitions with expected outcomes and the fact the committee president is a woman. Although committees presided by women give more weight to scientific merit than those presided by men, favoritism still occurs. In fact, in the case the committee president is a woman, the single most important factor for the success of a candidate is joint research with the president; while in the case of male presidents, it is the years together in the same university.

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      Science faculty's subtle gender biases favor male students.

      Despite efforts to recruit and retain more women, a stark gender disparity persists within academic science. Abundant research has demonstrated gender bias in many demographic groups, but has yet to experimentally investigate whether science faculty exhibit a bias against female students that could contribute to the gender disparity in academic science. In a randomized double-blind study (n = 127), science faculty from research-intensive universities rated the application materials of a student-who was randomly assigned either a male or female name-for a laboratory manager position. Faculty participants rated the male applicant as significantly more competent and hireable than the (identical) female applicant. These participants also selected a higher starting salary and offered more career mentoring to the male applicant. The gender of the faculty participants did not affect responses, such that female and male faculty were equally likely to exhibit bias against the female student. Mediation analyses indicated that the female student was less likely to be hired because she was viewed as less competent. We also assessed faculty participants' preexisting subtle bias against women using a standard instrument and found that preexisting subtle bias against women played a moderating role, such that subtle bias against women was associated with less support for the female student, but was unrelated to reactions to the male student. These results suggest that interventions addressing faculty gender bias might advance the goal of increasing the participation of women in science.
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        Nepotism and sexism in peer-review.

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          Understanding current causes of women's underrepresentation in science.

          Explanations for women's underrepresentation in math-intensive fields of science often focus on sex discrimination in grant and manuscript reviewing, interviewing, and hiring. Claims that women scientists suffer discrimination in these arenas rest on a set of studies undergirding policies and programs aimed at remediation. More recent and robust empiricism, however, fails to support assertions of discrimination in these domains. To better understand women's underrepresentation in math-intensive fields and its causes, we reprise claims of discrimination and their evidentiary bases. Based on a review of the past 20 y of data, we suggest that some of these claims are no longer valid and, if uncritically accepted as current causes of women's lack of progress, can delay or prevent understanding of contemporary determinants of women's underrepresentation. We conclude that differential gendered outcomes in the real world result from differences in resources attributable to choices, whether free or constrained, and that such choices could be influenced and better informed through education if resources were so directed. Thus, the ongoing focus on sex discrimination in reviewing, interviewing, and hiring represents costly, misplaced effort: Society is engaged in the present in solving problems of the past, rather than in addressing meaningful limitations deterring women's participation in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics careers today. Addressing today's causes of underrepresentation requires focusing on education and policy changes that will make institutions responsive to differing biological realities of the sexes. Finally, we suggest potential avenues of intervention to increase gender fairness that accord with current, as opposed to historical, findings.
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            Author and article information

            Journal
            30 October 2018
            1810.13236
            10.1093/reseval/rvv019

            http://arxiv.org/licenses/nonexclusive-distrib/1.0/

            Custom metadata
            Abramo, G., D'Angelo, C.A., Rosati, F. (2015). Selection committees for academic recruitment: does gender matter? Research Evaluation, 24(4), 392-404
            arXiv admin note: text overlap with arXiv:1810.12207
            cs.DL

            Information & Library science

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