USA Today: Women scientists lose out on research prizes

USA Today’s “ScienceFair” blog has covered the research of SMU sociologist Anne Lincoln. In a March 13 entry, journalist Dan Vergano writes about Lincoln’s latest findings surrounding discrimination against women in the STEM fields: science, technology, engineering and math. Dubbed “the Mathilda Effect,” Lincoln has shown that women in the STEM areas do not receive the same recognition for their research and achievements as do men in those fields.

In earlier research funded by the National Science Foundation and sponsored by the Association for Women in Science, Lincoln found that female scientists do not win awards for their research in proportion to the number of women in the PhD pool for their discipline.

An assistant professor in the Department of Sociology, Lincoln also has done extensive research on how science careers can be incompatible for both women and men who also want to have a family.

Read the full ScienceFair article.

EXCERPT:

By Dan Vergano
USA Today

Male scientists still receive an outsized number of research awards compared to women, a study finds.

Women are nominated for research prizes just as frequently as men, however unconscious bias and men running prize panels seems to be swaying award outcomes, suggests the study in the current Social Studies of Science journal.

Varying widely by discipline, women receive about 40% of all doctorates in science (around 70% of psychology degrees but less in other fields) and engineering (about 10%), and have long suffered from lower odds of becoming full professors or attaining other markers of prestige in those fields.

“A large body of social science research finds that work done by women is perceived as less important or valuable that that done by men,” begins the study led by sociologist Anne Lincoln of Southern Methodist University in Dallas. In their research, the study authors looked at award patterns from 13 scientific and medical societies from 1991 (206 awards) to 2010 (296 awards).

At first glance, things looked better for women, who won 78% more awards in 2010 compared to two decades earlier. “Closer analysis shows that women continued to win far fewer of the more prestigious scholarly awards than the other types of awards, however – averaging just 10 percent. By comparison, women won 32.2 percent of service awards and 37.1 percent of teaching awards between 2001 and 2010,” says the study.

How come? The study authors found seven math, science and medical societies willing to open their award process for examination.

Read the full story.

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