miðvikudagur, september 21, 2005

For Women in Sciences, Slow Progress in Academia

Professor of Psychology and Women's Studies Abigail Stewart mentioned in the New York Times for leading UM's effort to increase awareness of sex bias in hiring

From the article:
Mel Hochster, a mathematics professor at Michigan, belongs to a committee of senior science professors that gives workshops for heads of departments and search committees highlighting the findings of numerous studies on sex bias in hiring. For example, men are given longer letters of recommendation than women, and their letters are more focused on relevant credentials. Men and women are more likely to vote to hire a male job applicant than a woman with an identical record. Women applying for a postdoctoral fellowship had to be 2.5 times as productive to receive the same competence score as the average male applicant. When orchestras hold blind auditions, in which they cannot see the musician, 30 percent to 55 percent more women are hired.

Professor Hochster said he was not inclined to join the committee until Abigail Stewart, a professor of psychology and women's studies who is leading Michigan's effort, made a presentation on sex bias to his department.

"I vastly underestimated the problem," Professor Hochster said. "People tend to think that if there's a problem, it's with a few old-fashioned people with old-fashioned ideas. That's not true. Everybody has unconscious gender bias. It shows up in every study."

In the last three years, the mathematics department, regarded as one of the best in the country, has hired two women with tenure and promoted one associate professor to tenure, Professor Hochster said, bringing the number of tenured women to 6, out of a total of 64 tenured and tenure-track professors. Two more women are on a tenure track.

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