The scarcity of women in the ranks of working scientists has been in the news for a discouragingly long time. But research studies designed to explain the reasons for this gender disparity are filled contradictions, mainly because they were conducted at different times and on different science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) fields.
Last year the Association for Psychological Research published a monograph about women in STEM fields in their journal, Psychological Science in the Public Interest. In this open-access metastudy, a cross-disciplinary team of scientists and economists focused specifically on published studies and data collected across all scientific fields to investigate how women are faring in STEM fields (doi:10.1177/1529100614541236). After extensive analyses and comparisons of the life and career trajectories of women and men in maths-intensive STEM fields (geoscience, engineering, economics, mathematics/computer science, and the physical sciences, including chemistry and physics) versus those of their counterparts in non-maths-intensive STEM fields (life sciences, psychology and social sciences), the authors concluded that things have been improving recently for women in most STEM fields. Further, although women are still not equally represented in some academic STEM departments, institutional gender bias may no longer be the primary reason. Thus, the authors argue, claims made based on data collected prior to 2000 are probably no longer directly applicable today because women have made enormous gains in the past two decades.
Read the whole story: The Guardian