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Research Reveals Low Exposure of Excellent Work By Female Scientists 245

An anonymous reader writes "Scientists at the University of Sheffield have found that high quality science by female academics is underrepresented in comparison to that of their male counterparts. The researchers analyzed the genders of invited speakers at the most prestigious gatherings of evolutionary biologists in Europe — six biannual congresses of the European Society for Evolutionary Biology (ESEB) and found that male speakers outnumbered women. Even in comparison to the numbers of women and men among world class scientists – from the world top ranked institutions for life sciences, and authors in the top-tier journals Nature and Science - women were still underrepresented among invited speakers."
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Research Reveals Low Exposure of Excellent Work By Female Scientists

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  • Not too shocking. (Score:4, Interesting)

    by deego ( 587575 ) on Friday June 21, 2013 @01:54PM (#44072027)

    While I'm glad they did their proper, academic statistical research with p-values and all that, the outcome isn't that shocking from a layman's perspective. Nor does it mean that men are better, in general.

    That is, my point is that men, in general, tend to have a larger diversity - a wider distribution - than women do, in almost any area of skill. That is why most criminals are men, for example. And, that is why most Nobel prize winners have been men, as well.

    (Of course, not discounting that sexism could play some part as well.)

  • by Bigbutt ( 65939 ) on Friday June 21, 2013 @02:09PM (#44072217) Homepage Journal

    Actually it does in part. The first part says women are underrepresented in the recent shows. The second part that you quoted said that they _also_ found that in previous years women accepted less invitations than men.

    I'd want to correlate it to something more along the lines the folks making the invitations looked at the previous accepts and declines or no answers, and declined to invite them again. So less women were invited this year because less women accepted in previous years.

    Then they're trying to figure out why women didn't accept previously and theorized it was due to women wanting to have babies before it's too late.

    Or at least that's how I read it.


  • You tell Universities that they will lose x% of their funding until y% of their Biology faculty consists of female professors with 2.1 children, and you'll see just how quickly those biological difference simply melt away.

  • by Cassini2 ( 956052 ) on Friday June 21, 2013 @02:41PM (#44072519)

    With a high-stakes career in academics, where one accusation could cause years of grief, the rule is that you never do anything with any university-connected female that could ever be misinterpreted as sexual.

    You do not ask females to go out to dinner to discuss their research. You do not invite (pester) females to visit your university, repeatedly. You do not discuss an abstruse academic point in a bar until late. You do not go to the golf course with a female co-worker (married or unmarried). You do nothing that could ever be misinterpreted, which often means you do nothing at all. This applies even if you are at a conference where the only opportunity to discuss things is late at night, or over dinner, or in a hotel room, or in a bar.

    On the other hand, with a male colleague, you find a common social activity and bond.

    Over the course of 15 years, subtle effects like this make a huge difference in the quality of social relationships formed between researchers in a field. Good social relationships open the doors that make good professor's famous.

  • by ranton ( 36917 ) on Friday June 21, 2013 @02:48PM (#44072581)

    To be serious for a moment, your 2nd paragraph provided a jarring contrast to the first one.

    How is there any contrast at all? In the first paragraph he is saying how he simply stating that he is supporting his wife while she is staying home with their child, but doesn't actually say that he is supportive of that decision. I have had similar conversations with my fiance about not wanting her to stay home with our future kids for financial reasons, and I don't think I am a monster for it (although she would end up getting her way if she feels strongly about it at that time).

    And I am not sure why he is jaded enough to even bring up our ridiculous spousal support laws but he is not wrong. Our laws put the child's need far above the parents (not necessarily a bad thing), but that almost always means the primary breadwinner gets the shaft. There is nothing sexist or misogynistic about what he wrote. He just comes off as a very bitter person for even bringing up the topic.

Q: How many IBM CPU's does it take to execute a job? A: Four; three to hold it down, and one to rip its head off.