Paul L. Caron

Thursday, June 20, 2019

New Study Finds Discrimination Against Women, Racial Minorities In Faculty Hiring

Asia A. Eaton (Florida International), Jessica F. Saunders (UNLV), Ryan K. Jacobson (Florida International ) & Keon West (Goldsmiths University of London), How Gender and Race Stereotypes Impact the Advancement of Scholars in STEM: Professors’ Biased Evaluations of Physics and Biology Post-Doctoral Candidates, Sex Roles: A Journal of Research, Vol. 80, July 2019:

The current study examines how intersecting stereotypes about gender and race influence faculty perceptions of post-doctoral candidates in STEM fields in the United States. Using a fully-crossed, between-subjects experimental design, biology and physics professors (n = 251) from eight large, public, U.S. research universities were asked to read one of eight identical curriculum vitae (CVs) depicting a hypothetical doctoral graduate applying for a post-doctoral position in their field, and rate them for competence, hireability, and likeability. The candidate’s name on the CV was used to manipulate race (Asian, Black, Latinx, and White) and gender (female or male), with all other aspects of the CV held constant across conditions. Faculty in physics exhibited a gender bias favoring the male candidates as more competent and more hirable than the otherwise identical female candidates. Further, physics faculty rated Asian and White candidates as more competent and hirable than Black and Latinx candidates, while those in biology rated Asian candidates as more competent and hirable than Black candidates, and as more hireable than Latinx candidates. An interaction between candidate gender and race emerged for those in physics, whereby Black women and Latinx women and men candidates were rated the lowest in hireability compared to all others. Women were rated more likeable than men candidates across departments. Our results highlight how understanding the underrepresentation of women and racial minorities in STEM requires examining both racial and gender biases as well as how they intersect.


Inside Higher Ed, (More) Bias in Science Hiring:

New study finds discrimination against women and racial minorities in hiring in the sciences. The study's about postdocs, but it has important implications for all of academe.

A major 2012 study revealed significant gender bias in hiring in the natural sciences: male and female scientists alike discriminated against hypothetical undergraduate female candidates for a lab manager position whose CVs were identical to those of male candidates. The scientists rated women as less competent and even recommended paying them much less than men. ...

Like the 2012 study on gender alone, the new study was relatively simple in its design. Researchers asked professors of physics and biology at eight public research universities to read and evaluate the CV of a hypothetical recent Ph.D. in their respective fields who was looking for a postdoctoral position. The CVs varied only in candidates' gender and race, as indicated by their first and last names. The names and presumed identities were as follows: Bradley Miller (white man), Claire Miller (white woman), Zhang Wei [David] (Asian man), Wang Li [Lily] (Asian woman), Jamal Banks (black man), Shanice Banks (black woman), José Rodriguez (Latino man) and Maria Rodriguez (Latina woman).

Of the 635 tenured and tenure-track professors in the participant pool who were mailed surveys and study materials, some 251 faculty members responded (about a 40 percent response rate). Ninety percent of physicist respondents were male, compared to 65 percent of biologists.

Participants were told that the study was about how CV formatting and design styles influence science professors' perceptions of postdoc candidates. To maintain the cover story, the researchers included questions about that purported topic, which they later tossed. They were, of course, much more interested in the next set of questions, which asked participants to assess the hireability, competence, likability and competitiveness of a given postdoctoral candidate. More specifically, the scientists were asked survey questions about the postdoc’s overall competitiveness, the likelihood he or she would be hired at their institution, and his or her competence and likability.

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Perhaps additional role models, emphasizing achievement rather than resentment, would help also? Just saying.

Posted by: Mike Livingston | Jun 20, 2019 4:10:40 AM