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The Almighty Buck Science

Sexism In Science 467

An anonymous reader writes with news of a recent paper about the bias among science faculty against female students. The study, recently published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, asked professors to evaluate applications for a lab manager position. The faculty were given information about fictional applicants with randomly-assigned genders. They tended to rate male applicants as more hire-able than female applicants, and male names also generated higher starting salary and more mentoring offers. This bias was found in both male and female faculty. "The average salary suggested by male scientists for the male student was $30,520; for the female student, it was $27,111. Female scientists recommended, on average, a salary of $29,333 for the male student and $25,000 for the female student."
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Sexism In Science

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  • Only in science? (Score:4, Insightful)

    by ktappe ( 747125 ) on Friday September 28, 2012 @02:29PM (#41491359)
    I'd be astounded if this were limited to just the science field.
    • Re:Only in science? (Score:5, Interesting)

      by jhoegl ( 638955 ) on Friday September 28, 2012 @02:33PM (#41491457)
      Nope it is everywhere.
      I have worked at many places to know women are generally discriminated against based on wage.
      In the USA, there was an argument that passing a law making it against the rule for employees to talk about pay wage and women getting raises to the same level as their male counterparts would actually bankrupt the system and other stupid excuses.

      Conversely, I have a Brother-In-Law who wanted to become a nurse and experienced sexism in Nursing school from a teacher and sexism at his job.
      So it isnt just one sided, but it probably depends on the field. Male dominated/Female sexism, Female Dominated/Male Sexism.
      • Re:Only in science? (Score:5, Interesting)

        by clarkkent09 ( 1104833 ) on Friday September 28, 2012 @03:09PM (#41492109)

        I have worked at many places to know women are generally discriminated against based on wage.
        Are you sure of that or is it just your impression? I can believe that there is a bias among certain people, but I also know that studies were made that disputed the claim that women make less then men on average. The key is comparing apples to apples i.e. not just comparing people doing the same job, but comparing people with the same number of years of full time experience of comparable quality. Comparing workers of the same age in the same job fail because women take more time off in their careers to raise children and therefore have on average less work experience than men. Comparing overall years of experience also fails because women work part time much more often than men. Sounds obvious but a lot of studies that "show" that women are discriminated against actually suffer from one or both of the above problems.

        • Re:Only in science? (Score:5, Informative)

          by AmiMoJo ( 196126 ) <mojo@wo[ ]3.net ['rld' in gap]> on Friday September 28, 2012 @04:14PM (#41493081) Homepage Journal

          Comparing workers of the same age in the same job fail because women take more time off in their careers to raise children and therefore have on average less work experience than men. Comparing overall years of experience also fails because women work part time much more often than men. Sounds obvious but a lot of studies that "show" that women are discriminated against actually suffer from one or both of the above problems.

          And that is a problem. Women are the only ones who can have kids, and we (as a society) obviously need kids and most people accept that facilitating the creation of families is a good thing. Women are thus faced with a choice between harming their career or not having a family, where as men can need not make that choice. Children are not just a lifestyle choice (we need them) and by supporting women who have them men are just doing their fair share.

          It isn't just less experience either. Women find it harder to get jobs in the first place when they are of child baring age because employers worry that they will invest in them only for them to take a lot of time off or even stop working completely. Even women who work while their children are young are seen as distracted and unwilling to put in the long hours men might.

        • by Geof ( 153857 ) on Friday September 28, 2012 @04:46PM (#41493549) Homepage

          The key is comparing apples to apples i.e. not just comparing people doing the same job, but comparing people with the same number of years of full time experience of comparable quality.

          A study [theatlanticcities.com] that took into account education, hours worked, and skill into account found that:

          Earnings are a function of skill and effort as well as gender. But even after we control for these factors, a relatively large earnings gap between men and women remains. The gender wage gap across the major creative class occupations ranges from $20,000-plus on the high end ($23,400 for management, $24,300 for law, and $26,600 for healthcare occupations ), to around $8,000-$10,000 on the low end ($8,700 for education, $9,800 for life, physical, and social science, and $9,900 for architecture and engineering).

          Keep in mind that skill is not entirely an independent variable. People who are promoted to more resonsible positions have the opportunity to learn from the experience, whereas those who are not promoted don't. In other words, the effects of bias are likely to compound.

          So the statistics above may understate the problem. The unadjusted numbers are truly horrendous. For law, men get paid more than twice as much ($138k vs $66k), which seems dramatically out of proportion to slightly more schooling (17.5 years vs 15.6 years) and a significant but not huge gap in hours worked (46.6 vs 40.9 hours - I don't know about you, but I personally find a dramatic drop-off in marginal productivity as hours increase).

          Notice also the gap in education. Some comments here are suggesting that education is a domain of reverse descrimination, but that's not the story told by the wage gap.

          I must echo the request of others here: if you have evidence to the contrary, plese provide it.

          • I don't have any evidence, but what about controls for other factors? I have seen people with the same experience, same sex, same age group, making 50% more money than those around them doing the exact same job. The reason they are paid more is because they are better at negotiating salary. I don't mean to suggest this in a sexist way, though it sounds such, but what if, on average, men are better at negotiating salaries than women are? This is just an example of something that could be outside the male/fem
            • by geekoid ( 135745 )

              Negotiation aren't part of the study. that variable was removed. Read the study.

              It's the same resume, just with different names attached.

              " on average, men are better at negotiating salaries than women are?"
              Offers are higher for men.

      • by Firehed ( 942385 ) on Friday September 28, 2012 @03:17PM (#41492239) Homepage

        To be fair, most salary gains come through negotiation. Men tend to negotiate more aggressively than women, so it logically follows that men would tend to get higher salaries than women. I've met women in the same field as me with salaries as high or higher than mine; it's no coincidence that they were aggressive negotiators.

        If person X will accept the job at $N and person Y will accept an equivalent job for $N-5000, why on earth should the employer pay person Y $N?

        Sorry, but this is one situation where I believe the person feeling they're discriminated against is at fault. Want more? Ask for it. Not happy with the offer? Don't take it. I'll bet you'll also find that shy/introverted men tend to make less than extroverted men, also as a result of trying to avoid confrontations (read: negotiating).

        I'm sure there's employer-caused discrimination in the hiring process in many places, but I don't think that comes through in wages. There are of course counterexamples all over the place, but I'm referring to the overall trend.

        • Re:Only in science? (Score:5, Informative)

          by whitroth ( 9367 ) <whitroth@[ ]ent.us ['5-c' in gap]> on Friday September 28, 2012 @04:09PM (#41493003) Homepage

          "Through negotiation"?

          Damn, you must have worked in very small places, or only as a consultant. That simply isn't true for 90% of the jobs out here, esp. for raises. The only time or two I've ever seen a "negotiation" for a raise involved a critical person quitting, and then taking a higher offer to stay.


        • by Americano ( 920576 ) on Friday September 28, 2012 @04:15PM (#41493115)

          I'm sure there's employer-caused discrimination in the hiring process in many places, but I don't think that comes through in wages. There are of course counterexamples all over the place, but I'm referring to the overall trend.

          Sorry, but the study suggests that the *suggested starting salary* was significantly lower for women than it was for men - for the exact same information packet about the candidate, with the only difference being whether you were hiring "Mike Smith" or "Michelle Smith."

          If you are lowering your opening number by $5000 just because the applicant is a woman, that's not the fault of the woman. Even if the female candidate is a negotiator to shame Henry Kissinger, she has to somehow negotiate back that $5000 you took off the table on account of her having a vagina before she even reaches parity with what you were willing to offer a man as an opening figure. It's very facile to suggest "if you want more, just ask!" But when the expected opening number is $5k lower for a female, she has to be $5k worth of negotiations better than the male candidate just to be his equal in pay.

    • by timeOday ( 582209 ) on Friday September 28, 2012 @02:38PM (#41491543)
      Dang women hog all the elementary school teaching jobs!
      • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

        Look, all I'm saying is why does a 30 year old man want to spend all day in a room filled with first grade girls?
        • Re:Only in science? (Score:5, Interesting)

          by _bug_ ( 112702 ) on Friday September 28, 2012 @03:13PM (#41492167) Journal

          There is actually a massive need for male teachers at the elementary level right now. Why? Because boys need male role models and often don't have one because either dad is off working all day or they don't have a dad at all. And if boys don't have the real thing in front of them they're going to learn by what they find elsewhere (television, movies, older boys) which tends to have negative consequences.

          • by characterZer0 ( 138196 ) on Friday September 28, 2012 @03:16PM (#41492215)

            Girls need male role models too.

          • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

            by Grishnakh ( 216268 )

            No, these kids don't need male role models at all. Men teaching young children are going to be perceived as possible sexual predators, and are in a lot of danger as unfounded accusations can ruin their lives (and this has happened many times in fact). It's better for men to avoid this field altogether. Will this be bad for society in the long term? Of course, but we reap what we sow. We don't deserve to survive as a society if we can't figure out how to fix this problem of pedophilia-phobia, and I don'

        • by Firehed ( 942385 ) on Friday September 28, 2012 @03:29PM (#41492405) Homepage

          The same reason a 30 year old woman wants to spend all day in a room filled with first grade boys: some people actually enjoy teaching.

          Can we stop parroting the media's current trend of "all adult males want to molest children"?

          • I'm actually reasonably good at talking to kids. It's really not too difficult, you get down to their level and let them lead the discussion. With boys, it's pretty easy because they like talking about Batman, and hey, I like Batman too. Also, I'm an Electrical Engineer just like Iron Man. Kids like talking to adults, it makes them feel like adults. But sadly, adults don't like it when you talk to their kids. Girls like talking about superheroes too, and they have favorites, but there's huge pressure

    • Re:Only in science? (Score:5, Informative)

      by Chris Burke ( 6130 ) on Friday September 28, 2012 @03:00PM (#41491983) Homepage

      Reminds me of a similar study where they sent out identical resumes, with two random changes 1) names that "sounded" white vs black and (Dan vs Jamal) and 2) felony conviction status.

      You can probably guess which resumes got the most and least callbacks. The sad part is who got the second most. "White" convicts. Yeah.

      • Re:Only in science? (Score:5, Interesting)

        by cayenne8 ( 626475 ) on Friday September 28, 2012 @03:09PM (#41492113) Homepage Journal
        I just recently watched that documentary, Freakanomics....it had some interesting things in it, one was how a name effects you through life.

        Having a more common name in general..helps. Having a very bizzare and strange sounding name...will often keep you from being hired over someone else.

        The show mentioned, that black and white names...until only a couple or so decades ago, were similar, but in the late 60's and 70's you started seeing black parents coming up with very unusual and stand out naming habits (Shaquillabonno, etc)....

        It may sound sad to you that a name can do this to you, but you need to face facts that it does. Your are likely to get called in for that CPA interview if your name is Jack.....and not so much if your name is Rain, Ja'Quaelah , Sting or Cher.....

        If you're a parent....have a heart and try to give you kids a name that will help them out later in life....right or wrong, that's just the way things are and sometimes you have to accept that.

        • by jhoegl ( 638955 )
          Nah, naming kids is like naming pets...
          I believe my fake Son Knucklenuts McFlister would agree I named him correctly.
    • Root causes (Score:5, Insightful)

      by naroom ( 1560139 ) on Friday September 28, 2012 @03:43PM (#41492621)

      Scientists are interested in making more scientists. That's why mentoring exists. Generally, females do not progress as far along the scientific career track as males do. They are just as smart and devoted -- up until the point when they have kids. Then science becomes less important to them, and they stop pushing so hard to become professors / researchers / Nobel winners / whatever.

      So, if you're going to spend countless hours teaching a student, which one would you pick? The male student, who's more likely to push his career like crazy and become a great collaborator and publish lots of papers with you? Or the female student, who has a 50/50 shot that she'll suddenly stop caring at age 25~30, right when her career would be taking off?

      Sexist? Absolutely - and this kind of thinking contributes to undervaluing females in science everywhere. Even brilliant ones who aren't going to have kids still face this bias. It's a disaster. But it has a logical cause. Until it's possible to have family-friendly science careers, this is unlikely to change. Right now, there are too many scientists competing for too few spots. The males are going to win, because they'll (generally speaking) put their careers before their families.

      • The scientists were hiring lab managers, not students. Career ambition probably didn't play a major role in their decision.
      • Re:Root causes (Score:4, Interesting)

        by Dixie_Flatline ( 5077 ) <vincent.jan.gohNO@SPAMgmail.com> on Friday September 28, 2012 @05:27PM (#41494027) Homepage

        Man, did you even read the paper? A huge part of why women aren't encouraged to stay in science and stick it through is because of the awful treatment that they get when they're young and starting out. Only an utter masochist or someone committed beyond most human reasoning would stick it out in an area where they offer you $5000 less to start *before they even meet you*.

        On every metric that they measured, women were getting the short shrift (even worse, people with feminine sounding names; 'Michelle' is also a man's name if you're French): money, mentoring and decisions of competence. For a lab management position that would probably just be a stepping stone through academia.

        Women are the ones that bear children, it's true, but there are Scandinavian countries where the men also get a significant amount of parental leave, allowing the mother to get back to work if she so chooses and letting the father stay home with the kids. The problem isn't with WOMEN, the problem is with the way we TREAT women. Maybe if we thought of them as equal and competent workers, we'd find ways to manage the inconveniences of life that all of us have to deal with.

        There are a great number of things that men are more likely to do that are deleterious to their health and ability to show up to work, but we don't seem to care about that. Blaming women for having kids doesn't make a single thing better. Societally, we just don't hold women in much esteem, and that's the real issue in the end. We can fix this, we just need to stop giving the same excuses and saying, "Well, we've tried nothing, and now we're all out of ideas!"

  • by ravenshrike ( 808508 ) on Friday September 28, 2012 @02:29PM (#41491367)

    Males, less sexist against females than other females.

    • by ZeroSumHappiness ( 1710320 ) on Friday September 28, 2012 @02:41PM (#41491595)

      There's a number of reasons I can imagine this evolving. I would imagine a thought process like this could cause it: "I worked so hard to get where I am, proved beyond all my male peers how skillful I am. If she's not going to prove herself she's not going to get anywhere in this field."

      • Or it might be simply that the men have the possibility of appearing sexist more to the fore of their thoughts and thus move to higher salaries for women applicants to avoid it.

    • by Velex ( 120469 ) on Friday September 28, 2012 @03:24PM (#41492349) Journal

      Well, hey, that also means that STEM careers are less sexist, too! I just heard on NPR the other day that women only make 70% of what men do. But if you're a woman and you go into STEM, run those numbers, and hey! If you're being hired by another women, you'll make 85%, a whole 15% more than other careers. For top score, get hired by a man, and you're up to 89% of what your male colleagues are making!

      So good job, STEM!

  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday September 28, 2012 @02:30PM (#41491393)

    Let's talk about the complete lack of busaries/scholarships/grants for men in Science. At the university I studied at in British Columbia, there were literally a dozen monetary awards for female science undergrads, but absolutely nothing for men. In fact, the *only* award in Science that was open to both sexes was a $500 bursary for people of Scandinavian descent who also owned a woodlot in British Columbia. Seriously.

    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by AdamWill ( 604569 )

      You think perhaps that's a consequence of people observing the problem of sexism and attempting to do something about it? Yeesh.

      • by MachDelta ( 704883 ) on Friday September 28, 2012 @03:16PM (#41492223)

        So the solution to the issue of excluding people from stuff based on their gender is... to exclude people from stuff based on their gender?

        Sociology is funny.

        • racist policies kept blacks out of career and education opportunities, with longstanding consequences. so: affirmative action

          sexism is real and keeps women under a glass ceiling: so corrective hiring policies

          classism is real and simple economics tells us money naturally gravitates to a few players. so: progressive tax rates to correct what otherwise would result in all wealth in society flowing to a few ultrawealthy

          why are these simple prudent policies such a giant brainfuck for some people? why are they so hostile to these ideas?

          • by Ltap ( 1572175 ) on Friday September 28, 2012 @04:18PM (#41493153) Homepage
            There are a number of underpinnings to what's broadly called anti-egalitarianism (which is a facet of the philosophies or schools of Fascism, the New Right, etc.). On one hand, there are the people who benefit from anti-egalitarianism and sponsor propaganda to that effect, similar to the anti-republican (in the "form of government" sense, not the "American political party" sense) and anti-democratic propaganda produced by aristocrats to discourage people from supporting democracy because of the "ignorant masses". The general basis for it is a nifty piece of circular reasoning where undereducated and ignorant people are derided for being undereducated and ignorant by the very people who have historically tried to ensure that they stayed undereducated and ignorant.

            One way to think of it is a bit like a murder investigation -- look for motive. The very people who benefit most from anti-egalitarianism are people who occupy privileged positions which would vanish in a more egalitarian society -- the wealthy CEOs, princes, and oligarchs of all forms. Thus, they have the greatest incentive (and are in fact pretty much the only ones who have an incentive at all) to promote anti-egalitarian sentiment. It is, however, easy to promote simply because people, especially in the middle of the economic spectrum (petit-bourgeoisie, or the "small business owner" in many cases), occupy a precarious class position which they are constantly having to fight to maintain. Part of the result of this is a general social separation from the people directly below them (the working class), which is a natural result of fighting hard to stay above working-class people and to live out, in the USA, the myths of the American Dream and social advancement. Thus, while they might not instigate anti-egalitarian classism, they are more susceptible to aiding those who do instigate it and becoming the lackeys of the very group above them which utilizes them as a shield.

            One way to consider this is to imagine three people, A, B, and C. Person A is a slave, Person B is a servant, and Person C is a master. In this situation, Person C might use Person B to keep Person A in bondage by threatening to eliminate Person B's (relatively more) privileged position. Even if it would be more advantageous for A and B to unite against C, this seldom happens, for a variety of reasons, often related to the machinations of Person C.

            Even more insidious, especially in the cases of sexism and racism, is when people who occupy roughly the same class position are pitted against each other. It is advantageous to rulers for a permanent underclass to exist (as black people and women have been throughout the history of the United States, often the lowest of the low) because they can be exploited most readily. The easiest way to maintain this is to sponsor bigotry that will keep this group separated from other groups -- black from white, for instance. Then, this underclass will have to fight almost entirely alone to gain even a modicum of freedom, rather than being helped by their brothers and sisters to gain it. Why? Because our society today forces people to be competitive or be destroyed, rather than to unite in a non-competitive way. Thus, black workers gaining more rights could be seen as a threat to the privileged position of some white workers, and so forth. The easiest way to sustain a system is to throw a few scraps to a few select groups, and in doing that to turn them into defenders of the system for fear of losing their privileges.
          • by ceoyoyo ( 59147 ) on Friday September 28, 2012 @04:18PM (#41493169)

            Sexism and racism are making decisions based on someone's sex. Affirmative action IS racism. Female only scholarships and discriminatory hiring practices ARE sexism.

            You're right, all those can be effective at doing things like evening out the demographics in a particular job. The people for whom they're "a giant brainfuck" are not convinced that correcting metrics, treating the symptoms, at the expense of more, overt, blatant, sanctioned racism/sexism is the way to go. In fact, it seems like they may have a point - discriminatory practices tend to have the effect of encouraging more discrimination. "She only got the job because she's a woman and they had to hire her" and the like.

            A better approach is to actually address the problem. Identify sexism and racism, of any type, when they happen, and stop them. Make such things socially unacceptable. THAT's how you eliminate discrimination.

            • i mean murder is obviously wrong, but it still happens. do you think making murder socially unacceptable will stop it? we're dealing with a kind of criminality, a transgression against someone else

              A better approach is to actually address the problem. Identify sexism and racism, of any type, when they happen, and stop them. Make such things socially unacceptable. THAT's how you eliminate discrimination.

              what does this even mean? this is a load of crap. something like affirmative action or progressive taxation

              • by geekoid ( 135745 )

                " we're dealing with a kind of criminality, a transgression against someone else"
                mm, not really. A lot of it isn't even a conscious decision. People do it without knowing they do it. They deny it, but when you show them the facts, they either attack the facts, or realize that they don't actual control every decision on a conscious level. Protip: Most you decision aren't on the conscious level. They are predetermined before they 'raise to the level' of conscious thought. Sure, you will reason the decision a

            • by Alomex ( 148003 ) on Friday September 28, 2012 @10:02PM (#41496161) Homepage

              discriminatory practices tend to have the effect of encouraging more discrimination. "She only got the job because she's a woman and they had to hire her" and the like.

              Actually in my 25+ years in the work place I never heard anyone make that comment that wasn't a sexist bigot to begin with.

      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by roccomaglio ( 520780 )
        Woman make up almost 60% of college students to 40% for men. So using this logic almost all general college scholarships should be male only.
      • by englishknnigits ( 1568303 ) on Friday September 28, 2012 @03:33PM (#41492473)
        Yes, lets punish the upcoming generation of males by preventing them from getting scholarships to write the wrongs committed by the current/previous generation of males in the work force. Good thinking.
    • by supercrisp ( 936036 ) on Friday September 28, 2012 @03:14PM (#41492183)
      Yeah I know what you mean! In my grad program there were all these incentives for BLACKS! And of course we were just over-run with African-American students in the field. Why, looking back, in the time it took me to get my doctorate, we must have had as many as one. Yep. One. Maybe we need some incentives. I mean, boohoo, for me and all, as I'm a white guy. No scholarships for you buddy! But, looking around, it seems like we don't really need incentives for white men in my field. And, hell, not for the white women either. All the ones I know are paid less than me, so they're clearly willing to do it without incentives. Probably because women are stupid and can't drive, or something like that.
  • by WillAffleckUW ( 858324 ) on Friday September 28, 2012 @02:32PM (#41491419) Homepage Journal

    I remember when one of my colleagues in Statistics brought in her son, who was amazed that there were actually male scientists in US statistics, biostatistics, and medical genetics.

    Up to running into a few male post-grads in the lab, he had only seen women in these fields. ... oh, wait, you mean male sexism. Yeah, might be a problem back east. Even the UW Engineering school is starting to see an uptick in women engineering Doctoral and Undergraduate students. Less so in Computer Science, sadly.

    Adapt. Or Adapt.

    There is no other choice.

  • by gapagos ( 1264716 ) on Friday September 28, 2012 @02:33PM (#41491439)

    Isn't it interesting that women seem to have more prejudice against equal salary for women, than women do?
    That kinda goes against the claim by some feminists that women are the constant victims of men oppression dictating salaries.
    Last time I checked, more women than men work in human resources, too. Just saying...

    • by SirGarlon ( 845873 ) on Friday September 28, 2012 @02:37PM (#41491541)

      That kinda goes against the claim by some feminists that women are the constant victims of men oppression dictating salaries.

      True, it refutes that male malice is to blame, but it also affirms that women do have a problem with bias.

      So, perhaps we should put the blame and counter-blame aside and talk about solutions.

      • This is about testosterone vs estrogen, and strident sexist attitudes based on fear and delusion. You're talking common sense and egalitarianism, which has no place here. Soon you'll be trying to let women control their own bodies.

      • Except you can't really start talking about solutions to anything until you identify the actual cause of your problem. Recognizing that gender bias is caused by men and women alike is the first step in the problem solving process.
      • Now that we know that there is a problem, and that the problem is not helped by changing the sex of the hirers, we have to minimize the bias by hiding the sex of the applicants during the application process for as long as possible.

        There was a similar problem in hiring for orchestras [repec.org]. They started doing blind auditions (players behind a screen) and a lot of the hiring bias went away.

        The biggest problem will be getting scientists to admit that this is a serious issue that won't go away without effort. This

    • by tnk1 ( 899206 )

      In many societies and cultures, the actual status quo tends to be enforced by women themselves, particularly on other women. That is not to say men are not involved, but some women can definitely form a supporting structure for their culture. That tends to be ignored because all women are always considered to be the oppressed group. However, some women obtain roles and benefits in those power structures and a threat to the existing order is a threat to their position as well, even if they are in an overa

    • by supercrisp ( 936036 ) on Friday September 28, 2012 @03:16PM (#41492233)
      Or, if you actually, read some of what these feminists write, you'd know that it's exactly what they say: women adapt to and adopt patriarchy. They, so to speak, out-Herod Herod. You could also argue that these scientists' perspectives on salaries are based on their own salaries. So women, paid less, offer less.
    • Not really. (Score:4, Funny)

      by raehl ( 609729 ) <raehl311 AT yahoo DOT com> on Friday September 28, 2012 @03:27PM (#41492373) Homepage

      Isn't it interesting that women seem to have more prejudice against equal salary for women, than women do?

      Makes perfect sense - while male scientists may suspect female scientists are less qualified, the female scientists know it for sure!

      (Note: This post is +1 Funny, not -1 Flamebait.)

  • by Impy the Impiuos Imp ( 442658 ) on Friday September 28, 2012 @02:34PM (#41491485) Journal

    Women need less money because they tend to marry men who earn more than they do on average.

    For men it's the reverse -- they need more because they tend to marry women who earn less than they do on average.

    • Wow. That's actually hilarious.

    • by ackthpt ( 218170 )

      Women need less money because they tend to marry men who earn more than they do on average.

      For men it's the reverse -- they need more because they tend to marry women who earn less than they do on average.

      Well state, Mr. Ozzie Nelson.

      • Re:It's logical (Score:4, Interesting)

        by ProfBooty ( 172603 ) on Friday September 28, 2012 @03:20PM (#41492285)

        In general, women tend to prefer men who are of higher status than themselves and there is some social stigma to "marrying down".. Men don't seem to have that preference, nor stigma, in the aggregate. As women's and men's incomes fall in line with one another, women tend to become more choosey, chasing after a shrinking pool of high status men, or so the male based blogosphere would have you believe.

    • Of course! Why couldn't I see that myself! D'oh!

      Most awesome comment of the day.
    • Wow. It's not often that you come across a post on Slashdot that was made in the 1950's. Looks like someone took off with Doc Brown's DeLorean and hopped on over to 2012.

    • Which explains why gay marriage is often banned. How would employers know what to pay?

  • by Ukab the Great ( 87152 ) on Friday September 28, 2012 @02:40PM (#41491579)

    The more important issue is that we're trying to "combat STEM crisis" when both men and women have more financial incentive to manage a GAP [glassdoor.com] than manage a laboratory.

  • by Anonymous Coward

    To go cook dinner barefoot, and wait for my husband to get home and knock me up again.

  • An Important Study (Score:5, Informative)

    by ideonexus ( 1257332 ) on Friday September 28, 2012 @02:45PM (#41491685) Homepage Journal

    This is a very important finding, and something people need to be aware of, but I also want to add another variable to the equation: part of the reason women don't command higher salaries is because they don't demand higher salaries. I don't want to take the sexist position that women need to act more like men to achieve salary equality, but I do get extremely frustrated by the fact that my female peers seem to lack the will to fight for equal pay. My father had to coach my mother into demanding a higher salary when she got a job as a professor. I've had to coach my sister to ask for higher pay, and I've done the same for female coworkers, where I have even taken them aside and told them my salary to see their eyes bug-out and then get angry at the injustice of our different pay-scales.

    Yes, women and men discriminate against women concerning salaries and capabilities. It's scientifically proven, and it's something we all need to be cognizant of so we can work for a just society; however, women also need to stop allowing themselves to be discriminated against. I have seen many women go from unequal pay to getting what they deserve simply by having some self-confidence in their value to the company and demanding their worth when the opportunity arises to ask for it. If the boss still refuses, sue the discriminatory #$%@.

  • by DaveGod ( 703167 ) on Friday September 28, 2012 @02:45PM (#41491687)

    What happened with the ones with gender left ambiguous?

    (the paper itself will not open for me, for some reason.)

  • Really, this was no surprise years ago, but is disappointing to see it still going on.

  • Hmmm (Score:5, Interesting)

    by TheSpoom ( 715771 ) <slashdot.uberm00@net> on Friday September 28, 2012 @02:47PM (#41491729) Homepage Journal

    I wonder if the females were basing the salary figures off of a relative number based on their own salary? That would explain the bias from them, if they were subject to it in their own hiring.

  • by teslar ( 706653 ) on Friday September 28, 2012 @02:50PM (#41491791)

    Not to disagree with anything in the paper and certainly not with the message, but personally, I would definitely have wanted to see at least one more condition: same resumes with no names at all. That should give nice baseline against which to compare both conditions (e.g. are female salaries marked down or are male salaries marked up).

    Also, I wonder what would happen if one were to replace the names with simply an indication of gender (male/female). Unlike the neutral condition, I don't think this would improve the study... I'm just curious if the gender is enough or if there's something specific about reading male vs female names.

  • by Egdiroh ( 1086111 ) on Friday September 28, 2012 @02:51PM (#41491823)
    I have to say the write up of the summary for this post did a really good job of not over stating what the study did and showed. Some that I have seen for this have been really bad.

    So for me the question is that here the study was on name bias based on gender of names. So there are some obvious followup questions here, like were there gender ambiguous names in the study Like Terry, and if so how did they did do. For the participants what sort of pre-esxisitng person to name associations did they have with those names. (i.e. Rather then being a direct gender bias could this have been that people are more likely to have name biases for female names then male names [and by name bias I mean things like not trusting people named Jennifer].) Further going beyond the direct follow up I wonder if there are biases in styles of names. Does Jim go over better or worse the James, If there is a skew towards formal or informal names how do people who's names don't have a clear nickname (like Derek) end up in the whole situation. To me this just opens the doors to more questions, and since the study did not find that the bias was particular to either gender of reviewer, I think the obvious thing to ask is, so what's really going on here.

    I think that this is a really important area, because science is best served by diversity, and am a little disappointed that they published their results at this stage because it potentially taints further study into this issue. I think that if we are going to tackle the problem we really need to understand it rather then trying fixes that are ignorant of the root causes.
  • by LothDaddy ( 169765 ) on Friday September 28, 2012 @02:59PM (#41491967)

    During my time in academia; Ph.D. student -> post doc -> professor, I always felt that women made better lab managers than men - so I think the people sampled in this study are completely wrong. At the risk of sounding like I'm stereotyping, the female managers tended to balance multiple concurrent projects better and kept the environment more harmonious and inclusive. The only times I saw issues with this type of situation was when it was a women-only environment. The most productive labs I witnessed, irregardless of the gender of the PI, had a female lab manager and a balance of female and male employees/students. I had lab mangers of both genders and paid them based on their level of experience as dictated by the university HR.

  • Just my $0.02 (Score:5, Informative)

    by samazon ( 2601193 ) on Friday September 28, 2012 @03:03PM (#41492025)
    I'm a woman working in the tech field and I'm glad to be paid what I am (due to where I live, my qualifications, age, and the industry that I am working in). What I find strange is that I know that if they'd hired a man to do what I am doing, he wouldn't be expected to also answer the phone/greet clients when they come in, and he'd probably be paid more than I am. I'm not complaining, necessarily, and living in the South means that sexism is something that people "just do." I think it's quite clear to my employer that I'd be more productive if I could focus on the tech aspects of my job and forgo the phone-answering, I'd be much more productive, but we - oops, there's the phone.
  • by Solandri ( 704621 ) on Friday September 28, 2012 @03:03PM (#41492035)
    The fact that female faculty had similar salary valuation disparity as male faculty would suggest there's no misogynistic bias going on here. Rather, that all faculty are weighing in other factors which on their own may be legitimate, but the factors themselves have a built-in gender bias.

    e.g. What are the statistics on male researchers who start off in a field, get married, have kids, then retire to stay at home to take care of the kids; versus women who do the same? Maybe the faculty are automatically factoring in the likelihood that the hired lab manager will quit the job at some point in the future, forcing them to expend additional resources hiring and training a new manager. And this is deemed more likely to happen with female hirees than with male.

    That's not to say it has to be this way. For the disabled, we've already decided as a society that the additional cost of giving the disabled equal access to job opportunities (handicap access, assistance equipment, etc) is worth paying. Yes treating them equally will cost us more, but it's a cost we're willing to pay for the results it generates. I don't see a problem with that. But it's something society should knowingly choose to implement, not something snuck in under the pretense of preventing "unjustified" discrimination.
    • by SirGarlon ( 845873 ) on Friday September 28, 2012 @03:19PM (#41492263)

      It depends on what you mean by "sexism."

      Back in 1999, MIT ran thorough study on gender differences among the faculty. It's an interesting read [mit.edu]. One of the striking findings was the consensus that "this is not what we expected gender bias to look like."

      Put another way, women's concerns in 2012 are not the same as what they were in 1970 or 1920. It could be your working definition of sexism doesn't describe the problems of women in science.

  • by quietwalker ( 969769 ) <pdughi@gmail.com> on Friday September 28, 2012 @03:49PM (#41492707)

    ... when females act like men.

    Crumbs - I can't find the link to the studies but here's the summary: When american women adopt the same value systems as american men they tend to outperform men. More specifically, when they make money, work, and recognition their top motivations, they excel in pretty much every supposedly man-dominated field; education, engineering, business, etc. Especially when it comes to small business owners.

    So why aren't they running the world? Apparently most women have a different priority order, and things like family, time flexibility, vacation scheduling, personal happiness (one area where women absolutely CRUSH men), and one of the biggest factors: having children. There was an examination of women in business, especially CEO's and VP's, and what they showed was that when qualifications were identical, women made more and generally had better success growing the company/raising stock prices/whatever it was they were tasked with. However, they made up only a very small percent of the CEOs. Why? Because many of them chose to have kids, and didn't have the same qualifications, like an unbroken 40 year long track record of management, as they took time off, or made their career second to being a mother.

    In some ways, the gender bias is in the eye of the beholder; the real issue is your priorities and how you work to achieve them. Granted, due to widespread generalization (which may be accurate), women have been sterotyped as less dedicated to a career, and end up earning less, starting for less, achieving less, making the men-stereotype priorities higher hurdles.

    It would be interesting to rank people based on how well they've achieved their priorities. Not that it excuses deliberate or accidental sexism, but it may result in questioning equal opportunity regulations. If you achieve all your goals in life, and having gainful employment is not one of those goals, artificially privileging you to get it over vs. someone who prioritizes it but doesn't achieve it - or other goals - on the basis of gender or race seems a bit .. unfairly discriminatory.

  • by TheSkepticalOptimist ( 898384 ) on Friday September 28, 2012 @04:25PM (#41493259)

    Names should simply be GUID's.

  • by tilante ( 2547392 ) on Friday September 28, 2012 @04:25PM (#41493271)

    From comments here, a lot of people seem to be under the impression that the subjects of the study were looking at a resume or something similar. From the actual paper, they were given an evaluation of the applicant written by a third party, not something that was supposed to have been written by the applicant. The summary is misleading when it says they were asked to evaluate "applications for a lab manager position" -- it should say "applicants for a lab manager position".

"For a male and female to live continuously together is... biologically speaking, an extremely unnatural condition." -- Robert Briffault