Elite male faculty in the life sciences employ fewer women

TitleElite male faculty in the life sciences employ fewer women
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2014
AuthorsSheltzer, JM, Smith, JC
JournalProceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America
Date Published2014
Publication Languageeng
ISBN Number10916490
KeywordsBIOLOGY , Employment , gender , HOWARD , LIFE , Male , SCIENCE , United , Women
AbstractWomen make up over one-half of all doctoral recipients in biology-related fields but are vastly underrepresented at the faculty level in the life sciences. To explore the current causes of women's under-representation in biology, we collected publicly accessible data from university directories and faculty websites about the composition of biology laboratories at leading academic institutions in the United States. We found that male faculty members tended to employ fewer female graduate students and postdoctoral researchers (post-docs) than female faculty members did. Furthermore, elite male faculty-those whose research was funded by the Howard Hughes Medical Institute, who had been elected to the National Academy of Sciences, or who had won a major career award-trained significantly fewer women than other male faculty members. In contrast, elite female faculty did not exhibit a gender bias in employment patterns. New assistant professors at the institutions that we surveyed were largely comprised of postdoctoral researchers from these prominent laboratories, and correspondingly, the laboratories that produced assistant professors had an overabundance of male postdocs. Thus, one cause of the leaky pipeline in biomedical research may be the exclusion of women, or their self-selected absence, from certain high-achieving laboratories. 
NotesSheltzer, Jason M. 1; Email Address: sheltzer@mit.edu Smith, Joan C. 2; Affiliation: 1: David H. Koch Institute for Integrative Cancer Research, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Cambridge, MA 02139 2: Twitter Inc., Cambridge, MA 02139; Source Info: 7/15/2014, Vol. 111 Issue 28, p10107; Subject Term: LIFE sciences; Subject Term: MALE teachers; Subject Term: SCIENCE teachers; Subject Term: BIOLOGY -- Study & teaching; Subject Term: EMPLOYMENT; Subject Term: UNITED States; Author-Supplied Keyword: gender diversity; Author-Supplied Keyword: women in STEM; Company/Entity: HOWARD Hughes Medical Institute; NAICS/Industry Codes: 541712 Research and Development in the Physical, Engineering, and Life Sciences (except Biotechnology); Number of Pages: 6p; Document Type: Article