The gender gap in science: A two-decade study finds that women are less likely to win awards for excellence

Women’s participation in international awards rewarding excellence in research is increasing, but it still lags behind the proportion of teaching positions held by women, according to an analysis by 141 higher scientific awards have been awarded in the past two decades.

Luqman Maho, Information Scientist at the American University of Beirut, examined whether advances in women’s chairs had resulted in awards honoring their work. Their findings, published in Quantitative Science Studies, a narrow but persistent gender gap appears at the highest award levels. The disparity is greater in disciplines that include life sciences, computer science, and mathematics.

Gertie Curie (August 15, 1896 – October 26, 1957) was an American biochemist, the first woman in the world to be awarded the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine, in 1947.

Hans Peter Graver, jurist and president of the Norwegian Academy of Sciences and Letters in Oslo, who manages Abel Prize in Mathematics and the Kavli Prizes in Astrophysics, Nanoscience, and Neuroscience, says the results are sentA reference to institutions awarding prestigious scientific awards for doing more for diversity.”

Women have higher rates of publication and citation compared to men, But they tend to have shorter jobs and careers Fewer articles as first or last authorAccording to other studies in recent years.

In his analysis, select Miho 141 Prestigious International Awards, including recipients of the Nobel Prize, the Fields Medal in Mathematics, and Premio Robert Koch Biomedical Sciences, awarded to 2,011 men and 262 women between 2001 and 2020.

Maryam Mirzakhani
In 2014, Iranian Maryam Mirzakhani was awarded the Fields Medal, considered the Nobel Prize in Mathematics, and was the first woman to receive the award.

The results showed that the number of awards honoring female scientists Increased in the past twenty yearsBut women are still underrepresented in these career-defining awards, which are often nominated by their peers and decided by previous winners. “We’re moving in the right direction, albeit slowly,” Miho says.

Although the study did not examine the causes of gender bias, it maintains that women do not receive lower rewards because of the quality or quantity of their research. Instead, he attributes it to A Implicit bias, along with a lack of proactive efforts to address inequality in science.

Nalini Joshi, a mathematician at the University of Sydney, Australia, says the results talk about the clarity of the candidates and how the nomination and award selection committees work, noting “An Inherent Culture of Exclusionary Behaviour”.

About Two-thirds of the 141 awards for women were honored sometime between 2016 and 2020, up from 30% of the 111 awards presented in 2001-05. The average female participation in the awards, when counting all winners, was 20% in 2016-2020. Miho found that this did not amount to the proportion of teaching positions held by women during the same period.

Since 2001, 16% (22 of 141 awards available) have never recognized outstanding women. This includes two awards included in the analysis on behalf of women.

Miho’s results mirror previous analyzes showing that there is less variance in prizes early in the race, however, As award status increases, the gender gap widens. Women are also over-represented in Awards that recognize mentorship and teachingThe researchers say it likely reflects the unequal division of these tasks.

In case One of the most famous Nobel laureates, started in 1901 in the categories of Physics, Chemistry, Physiology, Medicine, Literature and Peace, in 119 years of existence it has been awarded 876 times to men (with 873 winners), 58 times to women (with 57 winners) winners; Marie Curie got it twice) and 28 times for organizations (with 25 organizations awarded).

According to each discipline, 17 women have been awarded the Nobel Peace Prize (out of 107 prizes for individuals and 28 for organizations), 16 for literature (out of 117 prizes), two for economics (out of 86 winners), and 12 for physiology. Medicine (out of 222 winners), 7 in Chemistry (out of 186 winners) and 4 in Physics (out of 216 awards received). The Nobel Prizes in Physics, Chemistry, Physiology or Medicine Only 22 women were awarded (With 23 awards received).

Bas Hofstra, a computational sociologist at Radboud University in Nijmegen, the Netherlands, says the repercussions are strong. gender differences, especially at the highest levels, Fostering a system that devalues ​​women and other underrepresented groups. “From the beginning of their careers, women get less credit,” he says.

Many scientific societies have already taken steps to address the disparities. The The Royal Society of the United Kingdom, For example, I appointed committees to order a Wide range of candidates which would otherwise be overlooked.

“still There is a long way to go But we hope these changes begin to bring more recognition to the wide range of talented individuals who contribute to the UK and international sciences,” says the geneticist. Veronica Van Heingen, Chair of Diversity at the Royal Society.

Donna Strickland, associate professor at the University of Waterloo, is photographed in her lab after a press conference, after winning the Nobel Prize for Physics, at the University of Waterloo
Donna Strickland, in 2018, was the third woman in history to win the Nobel Prize in Physics.

The American Geophysical Union She had some success in identifying women, representing women Half of the community honors the year 2019 But women are still underrepresented among scholars nominated for awards and selection committees. selection committees for Abel Awards And Kavli They have achieved gender parity.

Joshi says that appointing several awards committees that are not only made up of previous award winners could influence practices and lead to more women being honored. “When you are the only one arguing against such influences, It is very difficult to change these views in the committeeHe adds.

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