Hat-tip to Jessica: a researcher at the University of East Anglia has made the shocking discovery that there is gender discrimination in the academia.
[Link] Sara Connolly, of UEA’s school of economics, has undertaken research that reveals for the first time what proportion of the pay disparity is due to women being younger, more junior or employed in different types of institution or subject areas. Her preliminary results suggest that almost a quarter (23%) of the pay gap is “unexplained” and may be due to discrimination against women.
Dr Connolly also found:
· an average pay gap between men and women academics working in science, engineering and technology of £1,000, rising to more than £4,000 for professors
· women only represent 29% of permanent academic staff in the sciences (despite women being employed in increasing numbers in universities and gender equality existing among science students)
· the gender gap widens with seniority – with women accounting for just 16% of professors in the sciences.
What I’d really like to see is a study that looks at the exact breakdown of how sexism works. The last link says,
Women in computer science must overcome two sets of obstacles to success, Roberts said. Some are impediments in most scientific and technical fields:
- Overt sexism, unwanted attention and sexual harassment create hostile working conditions.
- A lack of role models for women in technical fields is discouraging. “When faculty members are looking for the next person to win a Turing Award, which is computer science’s Nobel Prize, they tend to look for people like the last ones who won such awards. This usually involves looking in the mirror,” Roberts said.
- The number of women in technical fields is not large enough to establish a resilient, supportive peer community.
- Failures in the mentoring process contribute to women’s lack of interest. Men advance academically because the faculty push them to do research and excel.
- Expectations are different for male and female students. “Many women find that they get pats on the head for merely doing well in courses,” he said. As a result, they are not adequately prepared to engage challenges at higher stages of the academic pipeline.
There’s a very well-documented trend of the proportion of women’s decreasing as seniority increases. I think there needs to be a study that looks at each of the main contributing factors and their levels of importance. The academia is getting less sexist, so women who get their Ph.D.s later suffer from less discrimination. There’re attrition due to direct sexism, attrition due to child-bearing, lack of progress due to lack of rolemodels… I once read a very detailed internal study at Stanford, which I unfortunately can’t find, and which documents the exact way inequality works, but for some reason can’t say which forms of inequality are the most critical.