Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Sexism in Academics

Study: University faculty members prefer hiring women over men 2:1 in STEM.  I think it's a safe bet we can generalize to non-STEM fields as well.  (How many faculty members do you know that do not want to hire women?)

The study.

Discussion at Inside Higher Ed.

Here is the discussion at the philosophy website Daily Nous (where the question is raised whether sexism is a myth...because only sexism against women can possibly be sexism; it's hilarious that in none of the linked to items above does the author raise the question about whether the study indicates that there is sexism against men, only whether there is not sexism against women.  If the study would have been 2-1 in reverse, we'd be hearing about it endlessly.  What we'll hear instead is how it was flawed or how it's not good evidence that the results apply to real world situations.  Because we all know sexism against women is rampant.)


"The underrepresentation of women in academic science is typically attributed, both in scientific literature and in the media, to sexist hiring. Here we report five hiring experiments in which faculty evaluated hypothetical female and male applicants, using systematically varied profiles disguising identical scholarship, for assistant professorships in biology, engineering, economics, and psychology. Contrary to prevailing assumptions, men and women faculty members from all four fields preferred female applicants 2:1 over identically qualified males with matching lifestyles (single, married, divorced), with the exception of male economists, who showed no gender preference. Comparing different lifestyles revealed that women preferred divorced mothers to married fathers and that men preferred mothers who took parental leaves to mothers who did not. Our findings, supported by real-world academic hiring data, suggest advantages for women launching academic science careers."
"National randomized experiments and validation studies… conducted on 873 tenure-track faculty (439 male, 434 female) from biology, engineering, economics, and psychology at 371 universities/colleges from 50 US states and the District of Columbia. In the main experiment, 363 faculty members evaluated narrative summaries describing hypothetical female and male applicants for tenure-track assistant professorships who shared the same lifestyle (e.g., single without children, married with children). Applicants’ profiles were systematically varied to disguise identically rated scholarship; profiles were counterbalanced by gender across faculty to enable between-faculty comparisons of hiring preferences for identically qualified women versus men." 

1 comment:

  1. Oh...listen to the whiny, white, male, tenured philosophy professor complain about 2 to 1 hiring rates in favor of women. This hiring rate isn't extreme enough, given that the first 1000 years or so of academia basically barred women from posts completely. If we lived in a just society, men wouldn't even be allowed in university settings. Men MUST PAY for the sexism of the past.

    Sexism against women is still rampant in the academy, Tully. It's implicit, which is why you can't see it (especially given that you are white and male). But it's REALLY BAD. EVERYWHERE. Why, just recently my female adviser, who is leaving her very cushy 2-2 teaching job for a senior post at another prominent school, inserted into our graduate seminar a small lecture on the terrible bias in the academy. The case: Jessica Wilson (professor at the U. of Toronto) and her recent paper "No Work for a Theory of Grounding". Wilson couldn't get her paper published for the longest of time. Never mind that it was a 50 page whopper that was much too big for most journals. Never mind that she presented it at so many places that it was extremely hard to get blind reviewers for it. It was definitely bias against her. And, never mind that she ended up winning a $15,000 award for the paper, which is almost all of my income for a whole year. We know that there was bias she had to overcome because reviewers INSULTINGLY made her add footnotes that acknowledged other authors who have written relevant things to the topic of the paper. Thank goodness everything turned out good in the end...she's one of the lucky ones (giant eye-roll).