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Sexism In Science

Soulskill posted about 2 years ago | from the objectivity-is-tough-even-for-experts dept.

The Almighty Buck 467

An anonymous reader writes with news of a recent paper about the bias among science faculty against female students. The study, recently published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, asked professors to evaluate applications for a lab manager position. The faculty were given information about fictional applicants with randomly-assigned genders. They tended to rate male applicants as more hire-able than female applicants, and male names also generated higher starting salary and more mentoring offers. This bias was found in both male and female faculty. "The average salary suggested by male scientists for the male student was $30,520; for the female student, it was $27,111. Female scientists recommended, on average, a salary of $29,333 for the male student and $25,000 for the female student."

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Only in science? (3, Insightful)

ktappe (747125) | about 2 years ago | (#41491359)

I'd be astounded if this were limited to just the science field.

Re:Only in science? (4, Interesting)

jhoegl (638955) | about 2 years ago | (#41491457)

Nope it is everywhere.
I have worked at many places to know women are generally discriminated against based on wage.
In the USA, there was an argument that passing a law making it against the rule for employees to talk about pay wage and women getting raises to the same level as their male counterparts would actually bankrupt the system and other stupid excuses.

Conversely, I have a Brother-In-Law who wanted to become a nurse and experienced sexism in Nursing school from a teacher and sexism at his job.
So it isnt just one sided, but it probably depends on the field. Male dominated/Female sexism, Female Dominated/Male Sexism.

Re:Only in science? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41491827)

Yeah, it's not one-sided, but guess which is the overwhelming case the USA?

If you guess Female Dominated/Male Sexism, add your own brain to the venues.

Even if you don't think you made a false equivalency, yup, you did. See how ingrained it is?

Re:Only in science? (3, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41491881)

He didn't make one. He just said it happens to both sides. Stop bashing strawmen.

Re:Only in science? (5, Interesting)

clarkkent09 (1104833) | about 2 years ago | (#41492109)

I have worked at many places to know women are generally discriminated against based on wage.
 
Are you sure of that or is it just your impression? I can believe that there is a bias among certain people, but I also know that studies were made that disputed the claim that women make less then men on average. The key is comparing apples to apples i.e. not just comparing people doing the same job, but comparing people with the same number of years of full time experience of comparable quality. Comparing workers of the same age in the same job fail because women take more time off in their careers to raise children and therefore have on average less work experience than men. Comparing overall years of experience also fails because women work part time much more often than men. Sounds obvious but a lot of studies that "show" that women are discriminated against actually suffer from one or both of the above problems.

Re:Only in science? (3, Insightful)

Firehed (942385) | about 2 years ago | (#41492239)

To be fair, most salary gains come through negotiation. Men tend to negotiate more aggressively than women, so it logically follows that men would tend to get higher salaries than women. I've met women in the same field as me with salaries as high or higher than mine; it's no coincidence that they were aggressive negotiators.

If person X will accept the job at $N and person Y will accept an equivalent job for $N-5000, why on earth should the employer pay person Y $N?

Sorry, but this is one situation where I believe the person feeling they're discriminated against is at fault. Want more? Ask for it. Not happy with the offer? Don't take it. I'll bet you'll also find that shy/introverted men tend to make less than extroverted men, also as a result of trying to avoid confrontations (read: negotiating).

I'm sure there's employer-caused discrimination in the hiring process in many places, but I don't think that comes through in wages. There are of course counterexamples all over the place, but I'm referring to the overall trend.

Re:Only in science? (4, Insightful)

timeOday (582209) | about 2 years ago | (#41491543)

Dang women hog all the elementary school teaching jobs!

Re:Only in science? (1, Funny)

bluefoxlucid (723572) | about 2 years ago | (#41491877)

Look, all I'm saying is why does a 30 year old man want to spend all day in a room filled with first grade girls?

Re:Only in science? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41491915)

for the money, of course.

Re:Only in science? (5, Interesting)

_bug_ (112702) | about 2 years ago | (#41492167)

There is actually a massive need for male teachers at the elementary level right now. Why? Because boys need male role models and often don't have one because either dad is off working all day or they don't have a dad at all. And if boys don't have the real thing in front of them they're going to learn by what they find elsewhere (television, movies, older boys) which tends to have negative consequences.

Re:Only in science? (3, Insightful)

characterZer0 (138196) | about 2 years ago | (#41492215)

Girls need male role models too.

I can tell you why he wouldn't... (1, Insightful)

raehl (609729) | about 2 years ago | (#41492229)

...he doesn't want to spend his entire career having everyone wonder why he's in a room filled with first grade girls.

Re:Only in science? (5, Insightful)

Firehed (942385) | about 2 years ago | (#41492405)

The same reason a 30 year old woman wants to spend all day in a room filled with first grade boys: some people actually enjoy teaching.

Can we stop parroting the media's current trend of "all adult males want to molest children"?

Re:Only in science? (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41491893)

Dang women hog all the elementary school teaching jobs!

And nursing, and veterinary medicine (Although that's a recent development, 50 years ago it was the exact opposite)...

Re:Only in science? (4, Informative)

Chris Burke (6130) | about 2 years ago | (#41491983)

Reminds me of a similar study where they sent out identical resumes, with two random changes 1) names that "sounded" white vs black and (Dan vs Jamal) and 2) felony conviction status.

You can probably guess which resumes got the most and least callbacks. The sad part is who got the second most. "White" convicts. Yeah.

Re:Only in science? (4, Interesting)

cayenne8 (626475) | about 2 years ago | (#41492113)

I just recently watched that documentary, Freakanomics....it had some interesting things in it, one was how a name effects you through life.

Having a more common name in general..helps. Having a very bizzare and strange sounding name...will often keep you from being hired over someone else.

The show mentioned, that black and white names...until only a couple or so decades ago, were similar, but in the late 60's and 70's you started seeing black parents coming up with very unusual and stand out naming habits (Shaquillabonno, etc)....

It may sound sad to you that a name can do this to you, but you need to face facts that it does. Your are likely to get called in for that CPA interview if your name is Jack.....and not so much if your name is Rain, Ja'Quaelah , Sting or Cher.....

If you're a parent....have a heart and try to give you kids a name that will help them out later in life....right or wrong, that's just the way things are and sometimes you have to accept that.

Re:Only in science? (1)

roccomaglio (520780) | about 2 years ago | (#41492261)

There might be a reasonable explanation for this. Woman accept lower offers. This means that you would be paying more than you needed to hire her if you offered her the same amount as a man on average. I am not saying this is the case, but it could be.

what does that idiotic red banner mean? (0)

gatesstillborg (2633899) | about 2 years ago | (#41491363)

Is this flame bait?

Re:what does that idiotic red banner mean? (1)

History's Coming To (1059484) | about 2 years ago | (#41492027)

It means you've built up enough karma and Slashdot Brownie Points to see articles "in the future", ie before most other readers. Congratulations!

Good point though, this kind of thing could be flame-bait or it could be a real effect. If the numbers match up and females consistently score lower on exams and problem solving then it may not be a sexist bias so much as a failing in the educational method or testing techniques - or it could (shock!) simply be that statistically women aren't as good at science (as currently practised and measured) as men - you'd probably find a similar statistical bias in tall/short people. (See also breast feeding - a small proportion of men can do it, but statistically women are better at it - sexist or simply biology?)

On the other hand, women tend to be better at managing groups of people, negotiation and communication (as currently practised and measured), skills which are not only valuable but a consistent problem in science. Swings and roundabouts, it should all even out in the end.

Which is why the pay disparity is the major cause for concern here. Pick any two scientists - one will be better than another at X, and vice versa for Y, but if they're doing much the same job they should be on much the same pay.

Nope, still sexist. (4, Informative)

raehl (609729) | about 2 years ago | (#41492313)

Good point though, this kind of thing could be flame-bait or it could be a real effect. If the numbers match up and females consistently score lower on exams and problem solving then it may not be a sexist bias so much as a failing in the educational method or testing techniques

If men have better exam scores and men get paid more, that isn't necessarily sexist.

But that wasn't what this study did. This study offered the same set of applications and randomized the gender of the applicants. The resulting disparity is thus entirely attributable to gender bias, i.e. the individual accomplishments of each applicant was overridden by their gender.

Re:what does that idiotic red banner mean? (1)

mcgrew (92797) | about 2 years ago | (#41492127)

If you're a subscriber it means the story hasn't yet been posted, but you can read it and TFA. If you're not, then slashdot goofed and served you the advance page by accident.

That's funny right there (5, Funny)

ravenshrike (808508) | about 2 years ago | (#41491367)

Males, less sexist against females than other females.

Re:That's funny right there (4, Interesting)

ZeroSumHappiness (1710320) | about 2 years ago | (#41491595)

There's a number of reasons I can imagine this evolving. I would imagine a thought process like this could cause it: "I worked so hard to get where I am, proved beyond all my male peers how skillful I am. If she's not going to prove herself she's not going to get anywhere in this field."

Re:That's funny right there (2)

Chris Mattern (191822) | about 2 years ago | (#41492091)

Or it might be simply that the men have the possibility of appearing sexist more to the fore of their thoughts and thus move to higher salaries for women applicants to avoid it.

Re:That's funny right there (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41492077)

I remember my wife complaining about this a long time ago.

Re:That's funny right there (5, Interesting)

Velex (120469) | about 2 years ago | (#41492349)

Well, hey, that also means that STEM careers are less sexist, too! I just heard on NPR the other day that women only make 70% of what men do. But if you're a woman and you go into STEM, run those numbers, and hey! If you're being hired by another women, you'll make 85%, a whole 15% more than other careers. For top score, get hired by a man, and you're up to 89% of what your male colleagues are making!

So good job, STEM!

Re:That's funny right there (1)

CanHasDIY (1672858) | about 2 years ago | (#41492353)

Males, less sexist against good looking females than other females.

FTFY, although reading it back, that's still pretty sexist, but in a different way.

While we're talking about sexism in Science (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41491393)

Let's talk about the complete lack of busaries/scholarships/grants for men in Science. At the university I studied at in British Columbia, there were literally a dozen monetary awards for female science undergrads, but absolutely nothing for men. In fact, the *only* award in Science that was open to both sexes was a $500 bursary for people of Scandinavian descent who also owned a woodlot in British Columbia. Seriously.

Re:While we're talking about sexism in Science (1, Insightful)

AdamWill (604569) | about 2 years ago | (#41491977)

You think perhaps that's a consequence of people observing the problem of sexism and attempting to do something about it? Yeesh.

Re:While we're talking about sexism in Science (5, Insightful)

MachDelta (704883) | about 2 years ago | (#41492223)

So the solution to the issue of excluding people from stuff based on their gender is... to exclude people from stuff based on their gender?

Sociology is funny.

Re:While we're talking about sexism in Science (1)

moderatorrater (1095745) | about 2 years ago | (#41492235)

Of course it is, but that doesn't mean it's not a problem. If it's a 60/40 split, that's defensible. If it's a 95/5 split, then we've got a problem.

No. (0)

raehl (609729) | about 2 years ago | (#41492347)

That's a consequence of people observing a statistical difference in gender participation and engaging in sexism to eliminate the gender difference.

The big problem with that is you're spending resources not on the people most qualified to be scientists, but simply on the ones with vaginas.

Re:While we're talking about sexism in Science (3, Interesting)

roccomaglio (520780) | about 2 years ago | (#41492393)

Woman make up almost 60% of college students to 40% for men. So using this logic almost all general college scholarships should be male only.

Re:While we're talking about sexism in Science (3, Interesting)

supercrisp (936036) | about 2 years ago | (#41492183)

Yeah I know what you mean! In my grad program there were all these incentives for BLACKS! And of course we were just over-run with African-American students in the field. Why, looking back, in the time it took me to get my doctorate, we must have had as many as one. Yep. One. Maybe we need some incentives. I mean, boohoo, for me and all, as I'm a white guy. No scholarships for you buddy! But, looking around, it seems like we don't really need incentives for white men in my field. And, hell, not for the white women either. All the ones I know are paid less than me, so they're clearly willing to do it without incentives. Probably because women are stupid and can't drive, or something like that.

Oh Please (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41491405)

Female students get into university and grad schools with a higher acceptance rate. There are many brilliant females, yes. But if you put them rank and rank against males, and did not discriminate using sex, then perhaps the number of females in programs would be even fewer.

But hey, I'm not complaining. The lack of females in engineering school and career is a huge problem, and it needs to be resolved. But please, they get many benefits too. Not to mention, they get to say about the engineering guys: "the odds are good but the goods are odd".

not bias, but experience (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41491409)

So both male and female scientists that male scientists are likely to work harder, deserving a higher salary.

Not so much bias or sexism, but experience - the vast majority of people going the extra mile are male.

This is particulary bad in Statistics and Genetics (4, Interesting)

WillAffleckUW (858324) | about 2 years ago | (#41491419)

I remember when one of my colleagues in Statistics brought in her son, who was amazed that there were actually male scientists in US statistics, biostatistics, and medical genetics.

Up to running into a few male post-grads in the lab, he had only seen women in these fields. ... oh, wait, you mean male sexism. Yeah, might be a problem back east. Even the UW Engineering school is starting to see an uptick in women engineering Doctoral and Undergraduate students. Less so in Computer Science, sadly.

Adapt. Or Adapt.

There is no other choice.

More bias from women than from men, against women? (4, Interesting)

gapagos (1264716) | about 2 years ago | (#41491439)

Isn't it interesting that women seem to have more prejudice against equal salary for women, than women do?
That kinda goes against the claim by some feminists that women are the constant victims of men oppression dictating salaries.
Last time I checked, more women than men work in human resources, too. Just saying...

Re:More bias from women than from men, against wom (5, Insightful)

SirGarlon (845873) | about 2 years ago | (#41491541)

That kinda goes against the claim by some feminists that women are the constant victims of men oppression dictating salaries.

True, it refutes that male malice is to blame, but it also affirms that women do have a problem with bias.

So, perhaps we should put the blame and counter-blame aside and talk about solutions.

Re:More bias from women than from men, against wom (1)

postbigbang (761081) | about 2 years ago | (#41491745)

This is about testosterone vs estrogen, and strident sexist attitudes based on fear and delusion. You're talking common sense and egalitarianism, which has no place here. Soon you'll be trying to let women control their own bodies.

Re:More bias from women than from men, against wom (0)

Pieroxy (222434) | about 2 years ago | (#41492007)

Soon you'll be trying to let women control their own bodies.

Puulease ! Let's not get carried away my Son. The Bible clearly states The Truth: Women are underlings that we deny a soul, a job, and yes, control over their bodies.

Your should embrace The Truth or face Eternal Damnation.

You've been warned.

Re:More bias from women than from men, against wom (1)

postbigbang (761081) | about 2 years ago | (#41492115)

How do you know I'm not your Daughter??

Re:More bias from women than from men, against wom (5, Insightful)

donaggie03 (769758) | about 2 years ago | (#41491789)

Except you can't really start talking about solutions to anything until you identify the actual cause of your problem. Recognizing that gender bias is caused by men and women alike is the first step in the problem solving process.

More bias from women against pay (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41491669)

I find it more interesting that women scientists want to pay everyone less wages than their male counterparts. Studies show that women spend more money on most things, especially offspring. So, why would they need less money?

Re:More bias from women against pay (3, Interesting)

Bill Dimm (463823) | about 2 years ago | (#41492275)

It's not surprising at all. If you are hiring someone to work under you, the amount you would offer to pay them will be influenced by how much you make yourself (anchoring). If women are paid less than men, it's perfectly natural for them to offer lower salaries to the people that will work under them.

Re:More bias from women than from men, against wom (2)

tnk1 (899206) | about 2 years ago | (#41492105)

In many societies and cultures, the actual status quo tends to be enforced by women themselves, particularly on other women. That is not to say men are not involved, but some women can definitely form a supporting structure for their culture. That tends to be ignored because all women are always considered to be the oppressed group. However, some women obtain roles and benefits in those power structures and a threat to the existing order is a threat to their position as well, even if they are in an overall subordinate position.

Re:More bias from women than from men, against wom (3, Insightful)

supercrisp (936036) | about 2 years ago | (#41492233)

Or, if you actually, read some of what these feminists write, you'd know that it's exactly what they say: women adapt to and adopt patriarchy. They, so to speak, out-Herod Herod. You could also argue that these scientists' perspectives on salaries are based on their own salaries. So women, paid less, offer less.

Not really. (3, Funny)

raehl (609729) | about 2 years ago | (#41492373)

Isn't it interesting that women seem to have more prejudice against equal salary for women, than women do?

Makes perfect sense - while male scientists may suspect female scientists are less qualified, the female scientists know it for sure!

(Note: This post is +1 Funny, not -1 Flamebait.)

It's logical (5, Funny)

Impy the Impiuos Imp (442658) | about 2 years ago | (#41491485)

Women need less money because they tend to marry men who earn more than they do on average.

For men it's the reverse -- they need more because they tend to marry women who earn less than they do on average.

Re:It's logical (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41491563)

The "Mary Tyler Moore Show" went off the air in 1977 after an eight-year run.

Not much has changed since then, apparently.

Re:It's logical (1)

ZeroSumHappiness (1710320) | about 2 years ago | (#41491631)

Wow. That's actually hilarious.

Re:It's logical (1)

ackthpt (218170) | about 2 years ago | (#41491759)

Women need less money because they tend to marry men who earn more than they do on average.

For men it's the reverse -- they need more because they tend to marry women who earn less than they do on average.

Well state, Mr. Ozzie Nelson.

Re:It's logical (1)

cayenne8 (626475) | about 2 years ago | (#41492181)

One thing that DOES contribute to it, possibly...is that women WILL take off work more often, to take care of sick kids at home.

The will take off work to have kids.

They often won't make the family time sacrifices for work that men will do without a 2nd thought.

Tell me you don't see that in real life in the modern age still?

Re:It's logical (3, Interesting)

ProfBooty (172603) | about 2 years ago | (#41492285)

In general, women tend to prefer men who are of higher status than themselves and there is some social stigma to "marrying down".. Men don't seem to have that preference, nor stigma, in the aggregate. As women's and men's incomes fall in line with one another, women tend to become more choosey, chasing after a shrinking pool of high status men, or so the male based blogosphere would have you believe.

Re:It's logical (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41491787)

You may want to read this article: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Circular_reasoning

Re:It's logical (1)

bluefoxlucid (723572) | about 2 years ago | (#41492003)

Circular reasoning would be well and good if we assume they have equivalent employment; however many women have part-time jobs or lower pay careers, for example as hostesses in restaurants (a step above teenager waitresses) or customer service, shift management in retail (a good $15-$20/hr), cashiers at K-mart, etc. A lot of women are part-time workers or seasonal workers, and stay home to raise children when they start having children.

Women do indeed tend to marry men who make more money; men do indeed tend to marry women who are not CEOs or Boeing engineers or $80k/year programmers for S&P500 software systems.

Re:It's logical (2)

feedayeen (1322473) | about 2 years ago | (#41492201)

This study was on women applying for the same jobs with the same exact skill sets as men.

In addition, your statement of most men tend not to marry women who are CEO's, or other successful professionals is completely accurate, but the same can be said about most women seeing as the average male is a high school graduate with an income on the order of 30k a year. The demographic you are referring to of making 80K a year or more represents the top 10% in terms of income, on a statistical basis alone, this demographic likely marries below them regardless of the gender.

Re:It's logical (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41492251)

naw mate, it's a closed loop.

Re:It's logical (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41491879)

Black people need less money than white people because

Re:It's logical (1)

Silas is back (765580) | about 2 years ago | (#41491899)

Of course! Why couldn't I see that myself! D'oh!

Most awesome comment of the day.

Re:It's logical (1)

Jason Levine (196982) | about 2 years ago | (#41491957)

Wow. It's not often that you come across a post on Slashdot that was made in the 1950's. Looks like someone took off with Doc Brown's DeLorean and hopped on over to 2012.

Re:It's logical (2)

jbeaupre (752124) | about 2 years ago | (#41492001)

Which explains why gay marriage is often banned. How would employers know what to pay?

Women are more biased? (2)

SebastianJB (1772592) | about 2 years ago | (#41491561)

There's a gap of $3409 between the male's suggestions for pay and a $4333 gap between the female's suggestions for pay. That's curious. I can understand that women might offer a lower wage across sexes based on being paid a lower starting wage, but I don't understand why there would be a bigger gender difference.

Re:Women are more biased? (1)

bluefoxlucid (723572) | about 2 years ago | (#41492017)

Women's lady-friends are all women they hate or used to hate. Women are immediately skeptical of each other, sometimes outright vicious.

The real gender GAP (4, Insightful)

Ukab the Great (87152) | about 2 years ago | (#41491579)

The more important issue is that we're trying to "combat STEM crisis" when both men and women have more financial incentive to manage a GAP [glassdoor.com] than manage a laboratory.

Why is this being limited to science? (0)

Sydin (2598829) | about 2 years ago | (#41491601)

Salary discrimination against Women has been a problem for decades now. It's been tightened up somewhat, but nearly as much as it should be. So why are we limiting ourselves to pointing a finger of blame at the science field? I bet you that no matter where that finger is pointed, you'll find roughly the same data.

Re:Why is this being limited to science? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41491763)

Presumably, the reason for looking at scientists is that the study authors *assume* that scientists should be all about judging based on the data. Unlike other expectations: the board room has always been an old-boys-network, the legal profession has always been biased, the news business too. That is, the best hope for finding a null result in testing the "salary offers are different" hypothesis would be in people who are *supposed* to be rational and data driven.

Back to the kitchen I go... (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41491637)

To go cook dinner barefoot, and wait for my husband to get home and knock me up again.

Bullshit (0, Flamebait)

fredprado (2569351) | about 2 years ago | (#41491681)

Bias cannot exist for long in a free market. If females produce results as good as males or better for lower salaries, the companies that hire then have a significant competitive advantage and will likely succeed. Companies will start to hire more women, and there will be more demand than offer for female employees. Consequently women salaries will rise. Simple as that.

If women earn less it is because their results are lacking. I won't risk on the motives of that, but that is an undeniable fact.

Re:Bullshit (2)

ZeroSumHappiness (1710320) | about 2 years ago | (#41491785)

You assume managers are totally rational. I wish managers were totally rational.

Re:Bullshit (0)

Capt James McCarthy (860294) | about 2 years ago | (#41491813)

But from what I hear, that free market thingy is going away since it's so unfair.

And who knew the world wasn't fair? Go figure. Sometimes you just have to work harder.

I do wonder what the rates are for female vs male nurses. (traditionally a female dominated area of work for a long time, while science was long dominated by males)

Re:Bullshit (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41491923)

The bullshit is all over your long, pointing finger.

The study was about offers for similarly qualified candidates. There was no productivity data on which to base the decision.

You have marinated in your own sexism for so long, you can't even smell it.

Re:Bullshit (1)

bluefoxlucid (723572) | about 2 years ago | (#41492049)

But what if the females are poor negotiators and easier to take advantage of?

Re:Bullshit (2)

Pieroxy (222434) | about 2 years ago | (#41492151)

There is a biological factor at play as well: Women do get pregnant from time to time, and men don't.

It may seem unfair or unjust, but what I stated is just a fact and nothing more.

Now what does that mean for an employer? Sometimes - more often for women than for men - it means your employee will be out of the office on pregnancy leave. And sometimes, after said leave the employee will not return for a few month to a few years. Sometimes never.

Of course, not all women are in this situation, and they all pay the price of the bias, because, for being women, they CAN do it, and from experience they will tend to do it much much more often than men.

Is discriminating against that fact unfair? Of course it is. But is asking anyone to disregard that fact when choosing between a male and a female hire any different? Well... it is also unfair.

Life's a bitch.

Re:Bullshit (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41492185)

YES! I don't care that they have done a blind test that shows that there's unreasonable discrimination!

I believe in the free market no matter what the evidence!

An Important Study (5, Informative)

ideonexus (1257332) | about 2 years ago | (#41491685)

This is a very important finding, and something people need to be aware of, but I also want to add another variable to the equation: part of the reason women don't command higher salaries is because they don't demand higher salaries. I don't want to take the sexist position that women need to act more like men to achieve salary equality, but I do get extremely frustrated by the fact that my female peers seem to lack the will to fight for equal pay. My father had to coach my mother into demanding a higher salary when she got a job as a professor. I've had to coach my sister to ask for higher pay, and I've done the same for female coworkers, where I have even taken them aside and told them my salary to see their eyes bug-out and then get angry at the injustice of our different pay-scales.

Yes, women and men discriminate against women concerning salaries and capabilities. It's scientifically proven, and it's something we all need to be cognizant of so we can work for a just society; however, women also need to stop allowing themselves to be discriminated against. I have seen many women go from unequal pay to getting what they deserve simply by having some self-confidence in their value to the company and demanding their worth when the opportunity arises to ask for it. If the boss still refuses, sue the discriminatory #$%@.

so where is the control group (3)

DaveGod (703167) | about 2 years ago | (#41491687)

What happened with the ones with gender left ambiguous?

(the paper itself will not open for me, for some reason.)

Re:so where is the control group (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41492341)

Yeah, unfortunately there is a lot that can go wrong with a study like this. And you can't check to make sure without reading the paper, which seems to be paywalled.

Before the reflexive pearl clutching (0)

Jarwulf (530523) | about 2 years ago | (#41491709)

Yet another article wants you to kneejerk sexism but I think this is more an interesting reminder on how we process information. People don't judge things just using a blank slate but use demographic shortcuts from their past experiences and ideologies. With only a paper likely filled with lies and exaggeration to go on the human brain is designed in these situations to mine for information not just in direct but indirect ways, it doesn't automatically mean they're wrong. Obviously it would be better to get to know the person, but mental shortcuts in certain situations are a valid strategy that the brain naturally gravitates toward because it overall works. In fact everybody with a functioning brain uses shortcuts including demographic shortcuts all the time everyday, anyone claiming not to is lying.

Re:Before the reflexive pearl clutching (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41492379)

"I'm sorry Helen, I just took a demographic shortcut that will ensure you start your career with a salary inequality that will retard your earnings for the rest of your life."

If by "demographic shortcut" you mean, "bullshit sexist/racist/homophobic bigotry", then yes, I agree with you.

Asshat.

They Pyrex Ceiling in the lab (1)

ackthpt (218170) | about 2 years ago | (#41491725)

Really, this was no surprise years ago, but is disappointing to see it still going on.

Hmmm (5, Interesting)

TheSpoom (715771) | about 2 years ago | (#41491729)

I wonder if the females were basing the salary figures off of a relative number based on their own salary? That would explain the bias from them, if they were subject to it in their own hiring.

blind auditions in orchestras (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41491749)

A real-life experiment occurred in the 80s and 90s in music - most top orchestras started doing blind auditions, and the number of women hired skyrocketed. (see e.g. http://www.sfgate.com/business/article/Blind-Auditions-Putting-Discrimination-on-2855410.php) In many cases, members of the orchestras were no doubt trying to choose candidates based on ability, not gender, before blind auditions began; the huge change in hiring indicates that they weren't successful. (I believe the New York Philharmonic hired it's first 4 women the year they started blind auditions)

Interestingly, this study implies that many of the biases which may add up to gender discrimination are societal, based on attitudes and experience shared by both men and women.

Not in science alone but in pr0n too! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41491773)

I was watching one documentary where they mentioned rate for pr0n actors and it mimicked something similar. Rates for m-m was the highest and f-f was the lowest! For m-f, the m got more than f.

Re:Not in science alone but in pr0n too! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41492021)

Of course. The M-M are most definitely the HARDEST workers.

Additional conditions (5, Insightful)

teslar (706653) | about 2 years ago | (#41491791)

Not to disagree with anything in the paper and certainly not with the message, but personally, I would definitely have wanted to see at least one more condition: same resumes with no names at all. That should give nice baseline against which to compare both conditions (e.g. are female salaries marked down or are male salaries marked up).

Also, I wonder what would happen if one were to replace the names with simply an indication of gender (male/female). Unlike the neutral condition, I don't think this would improve the study... I'm just curious if the gender is enough or if there's something specific about reading male vs female names.

Female employees a bigger risk for the employer (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41491821)

A woman in her 20s or 30s is almost guaranteed to get knocked up and go on parental leave as soon as the minimum required time has elapsed, so why should the employer hire women when they can instead get someone reliable?

Re:Female employees a bigger risk for the employer (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41492125)

MOD PARENT UP

You obviously don't work with scientists. (2)

oneiros27 (46144) | about 2 years ago | (#41492331)

I can say that about *one* of the female scientists that I work with*. It's actually more likely that a male scientist will go on paternity leave than a female on maternity.

My theory is that because of the gender bias, the females are either selected who aren't going to start a family, or they actively choose not to do so for fear of supporting the myth you claim. I can't say which one, as I'm involved in the hiring of scientists. Or, it's like in Idiocracy [imdb.com] , where the smart ones are just less likely to have kids.

* And I can only say that she's in her 20s or 30s and went on maternity leave; I can't make any claims as to the timing vs. the minimum time elapsed, as I believe she's been here for at least 2.5 years.

(disclaimer: I work with scientists at a US government agency; it's possible it may be different in other countries or in the commercial / academic area, or even in different scientific fields)

Great Summary. But where does this go from here. (4, Interesting)

Egdiroh (1086111) | about 2 years ago | (#41491823)

I have to say the write up of the summary for this post did a really good job of not over stating what the study did and showed. Some that I have seen for this have been really bad.

So for me the question is that here the study was on name bias based on gender of names. So there are some obvious followup questions here, like were there gender ambiguous names in the study Like Terry, and if so how did they did do. For the participants what sort of pre-esxisitng person to name associations did they have with those names. (i.e. Rather then being a direct gender bias could this have been that people are more likely to have name biases for female names then male names [and by name bias I mean things like not trusting people named Jennifer].) Further going beyond the direct follow up I wonder if there are biases in styles of names. Does Jim go over better or worse the James, If there is a skew towards formal or informal names how do people who's names don't have a clear nickname (like Derek) end up in the whole situation. To me this just opens the doors to more questions, and since the study did not find that the bias was particular to either gender of reviewer, I think the obvious thing to ask is, so what's really going on here.

I think that this is a really important area, because science is best served by diversity, and am a little disappointed that they published their results at this stage because it potentially taints further study into this issue. I think that if we are going to tackle the problem we really need to understand it rather then trying fixes that are ignorant of the root causes.

Supply and Demand impacts the Price (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41491905)

It is the fault of a Society. We stress that the "norm" for women is to have babies and stay at home. Christianity stresses this as a woman's role in the home as well. Many women do this, many do not. Employers know this. They know that at any time, that hot chick in accounting with the double D is going to ask for 6 weeks of maturnaty leave, and then 3 weeks after coming back she will decide she wants to be home with her baby. Call it instincts, call it pressure from society, call it faith, call it whatever.

So any business runs the risk of losing an individual due to this "begat" phenomenon any time they hire a female between the ages of 16 and 45.
That said, because of this risk, they are less willing to hire women. Economically speaking, it is supply and demand. The demand for women labor is less than it is for men, because of this probability that they will not stay employed long term. Granted, not all women fall into this model, however, businesses factor it in. Therefore, the price the businesses are willing to pay women is less as well, assuming all other factors are equal... qualifications, aptitude, etc.

Businesses with high turnover (fast food, entry level factory jobs, etc.) tend to not care about this factor as much, and therefore the pay rate tends to be more even.
So, this tends to impact higher wage earning jobs that have little turnover, where the employer is forced to look at the long term.

Enter technology/science. Businesses pay a great deal of money for "expert" help. People with degrees aren't cheap for them. They tend to want to keep their technical folks for the long haul. Not all businesses mind you, but many. Therefore, tech jobs fall into this category of "begat" supply and demand.

Woman make better lab managers - IMHO. (4, Interesting)

LothDaddy (169765) | about 2 years ago | (#41491967)

During my time in academia; Ph.D. student -> post doc -> professor, I always felt that women made better lab managers than men - so I think the people sampled in this study are completely wrong. At the risk of sounding like I'm stereotyping, the female managers tended to balance multiple concurrent projects better and kept the environment more harmonious and inclusive. The only times I saw issues with this type of situation was when it was a women-only environment. The most productive labs I witnessed, irregardless of the gender of the PI, had a female lab manager and a balance of female and male employees/students. I had lab mangers of both genders and paid them based on their level of experience as dictated by the university HR.

Just my $0.02 (5, Informative)

samazon (2601193) | about 2 years ago | (#41492025)

I'm a woman working in the tech field and I'm glad to be paid what I am (due to where I live, my qualifications, age, and the industry that I am working in). What I find strange is that I know that if they'd hired a man to do what I am doing, he wouldn't be expected to also answer the phone/greet clients when they come in, and he'd probably be paid more than I am. I'm not complaining, necessarily, and living in the South means that sexism is something that people "just do." I think it's quite clear to my employer that I'd be more productive if I could focus on the tech aspects of my job and forgo the phone-answering, I'd be much more productive, but we - oops, there's the phone.

Is this really sexism? (2)

Solandri (704621) | about 2 years ago | (#41492035)

The fact that female faculty had similar salary valuation disparity as male faculty would suggest there's no misogynistic bias going on here. Rather, that all faculty are weighing in other factors which on their own may be legitimate, but the factors themselves have a built-in gender bias.

e.g. What are the statistics on male researchers who start off in a field, get married, have kids, then retire to stay at home to take care of the kids; versus women who do the same? Maybe the faculty are automatically factoring in the likelihood that the hired lab manager will quit the job at some point in the future, forcing them to expend additional resources hiring and training a new manager. And this is deemed more likely to happen with female hirees than with male.

That's not to say it has to be this way. For the disabled, we've already decided as a society that the additional cost of giving the disabled equal access to job opportunities (handicap access, assistance equipment, etc) is worth paying. Yes treating them equally will cost us more, but it's a cost we're willing to pay for the results it generates. I don't see a problem with that. But it's something society should knowingly choose to implement, not something snuck in under the pretense of preventing "unjustified" discrimination.

Re:Is this really sexism? (5, Informative)

SirGarlon (845873) | about 2 years ago | (#41492263)

It depends on what you mean by "sexism."

Back in 1999, MIT ran thorough study on gender differences among the faculty. It's an interesting read [mit.edu] . One of the striking findings was the consensus that "this is not what we expected gender bias to look like."

Put another way, women's concerns in 2012 are not the same as what they were in 1970 or 1920. It could be your working definition of sexism doesn't describe the problems of women in science.

Maternity leave. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41492045)

Women have a significantly higher chance of taking maternity leave than men. This does on average make them less valuable to an employer. My childfree girlfriend hates this.

It may be sexist and not politically correct to mention, but that doesn't mean it's not true.

Phil Ken Sebben said, (1)

madhatter256 (443326) | about 2 years ago | (#41492057)

"It's important to encourage girls to take up a professional career. So that in the future we have a strong motivated work force that costs only 60% of what it costs to pay a man."

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4jEmwtA_Ys4 [youtube.com]

Cheapskate women (1)

ThatsNotPudding (1045640) | about 2 years ago | (#41492141)

Plus feeling ovulatorily threatened by younger fertiles, no doubt. [sarcasm]

Biological Cost (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41492163)

Realistically, all other things being equal, a male employee is more valuable than a female employee. A female employee gets PMS and can get pregnant. Both of these things can easily have negative effects on work performance. Also, in most countries, women get paid while they are away on maternity leave. The real question is, as an employee, how much less is a women worth when compared to a male counterpart of equal ability. The value is probably not huge but it is there.

How about sexism in this study? (0)

wisnoskij (1206448) | about 2 years ago | (#41492179)

This study points that that women are not identical to men: ""The average salary suggested by male scientists for the male student was $30,520; for the female student, it was $27,111. Female scientists recommended, on average, a salary of $29,333 for the male student and $25,000 for the female student."

It is obviously sexist.

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