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Gender discrimination

Gender discrimination rampant in sciences as women locked out of top positions

Tuesday, September 26, 2006 by: Ben Kage
Tags: gender discrimination, health news, Natural News


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(NewsTarget) A report by the National Academies has found that gender bias is preventing women from being hired or promoted in research universities in science and engineering fields.

The report cautions that, if the gender bias problem is not taken care of quickly by university administrators, professional societies, government agencies and Congress, the future of the U.S. research base and economy will suffer.

The National Academies -- composed of the National Academy of Sciences, the National Academy of Engineering, the Institute of Medicine, and the National Research Council -- reported that women have gone from making up 3 percent of the U.S. scientific and technical community 40 years ago to comprising nearly one-fifth today, and they have earned more than half of all bachelor's degrees awarded in science and engineering since 2000.

"Among science and engineering Ph.D.s, four times more men than women hold full-time faculty positions," the report said. "And minority women with doctorates are less likely than white women or men of any racial or ethnic group to be in tenure positions."

The report -- sponsored by the Office of Research on Women's Health at the National Institutes of Health, Eli Lilly and Co., National Science Foundation, Ford Foundation and the National Academies themselves -- noted that no studies have ever shown significant biological differences between men and women in scientific fields that would excuse the lower representation. Women are paid less, promoted more slowly, receive fewer honors, and hold fewer leadership positions in science and technology fields, according to the report.

A broad range of solutions was put forward in the report, including charging trustees and university presidents to strive to change the situation and "recruit, retain and promote more women -- including minority women -- into faculty and leadership positions.

"University leaders," the report adds, "should develop and implement hiring, tenure, and promotion policies that take into account the flexibility that faculty members may need as they pass through various life stages -- and that do not sacrifice quality to meet rigid timelines.

"Administrators, for example, should visibly and vigorously support campus programs that help faculty members who have children or other caregiving duties to maintain productive careers. At a minimum, the programs should include provisions for paid parental leave, facilities and subsidies for on-site and community-based child care, and more time to work on dissertations and obtain tenure."

"Science continues to be a male-dominated endeavor characterized by egoistic male thinking," said Mike Adams, a science writer and author of "The Ten Most Important Emerging Technologies For Humanity." "This frustrating gender discrimination is actually holding back breakthroughs in science that may have their origins in more female (or yin) thinking, such as studying the relationships among the body's organs rather than dissecting them to see what they're made of," he said. "Women only tend to advance in science careers when they abandon holistic thinking and agree to adhere to a compartmentalized, Descartian view of the nature of the universe."

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