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      Science faculty's subtle gender biases favor male students.

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          Abstract

          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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          Most cited references 30

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          Sexism and racism: Old-fashioned and modern prejudices.

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            Understanding current causes of women's underrepresentation in science.

             S Ceci,  W M Williams (2011)
            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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              Penalties for success: reactions to women who succeed at male gender-typed tasks.

              A total of 242 subjects participated in 3 experimental studies investigating reactions to a woman's success in a male gender-typed job. Results strongly supported the authors' hypotheses, indicating that (a) when women are acknowledged to have been successful, they are less liked and more personally derogated than equivalently successful men (Studies 1 and 2); (b) these negative reactions occur only when the success is in an arena that is distinctly male in character (Study 2); and (c) being disliked can have career-affecting outcomes, both for overall evaluation and for recommendations concerning organizational reward allocation (Study 3). These results were taken to support the idea that gender stereotypes can prompt bias in evaluative judgments of women even when these women have proved themselves to be successful and demonstrated their competence. The distinction between prescriptive and descriptive aspects of gender stereotypes is considered, as well as the implications of prescriptive gender norms for women in work settings. (c) 2004 APA
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                Author and article information

                Journal
                Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. U.S.A.
                Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America
                Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences
                1091-6490
                0027-8424
                Oct 09 2012
                : 109
                : 41
                Affiliations
                [1 ] Department of Molecular, Cellular and Developmental Biology, Yale University, New Haven, CT 06520, USA.
                Article
                1211286109
                10.1073/pnas.1211286109
                3478626
                22988126
                c3813415-faca-4f5d-9427-f3eeeee240a1

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