Thursday, September 27, 2012

I thought we'd figured this out already...

I've been sitting on this one for a few days. I don't want to be the downer blogger, but this is important. It's important because I'm not the only one. It's important because if it's even in science, it's everywhere.

A study just came out which found a significant gap in the perception of men and women in science. And it was a big gap. Men are simply seen as smarter and more accomplished. This is sadly a fact. They gave scientist a one page summary of accomplishments for a potential hire. They gave out the same summary to scientist in physics, biology, and chemistry. The only difference was the name of the potential candidate: one was named Jennifer; the other was named John.

On a scale of 1 to 7 they rated John a 4. They rated Jennifer a 3.3.

3.3

If this was scored out of 100, John had a 57 and Jennifer got a 47. Ten percent higher for being a man.

I play hockey in a co-ed league, and something that always comes up is should we make special dispensations for women hockey players. My answer has always been "no." Hockey is a game of speed and skill, and in my opinion, if a man isn't fast enough or skilled enough, they don't belong in the league and neither do women who can't cut the mustard. If, however, women are skilled enough and fast enough, then yes, they should play. That's it. The only difference is the gear they have.

All my life I've seen barriers come down for women. I've felt like we were closer to bridging this gap. I'd even started to feel like there wasn't as much gap left (despite my time in a very misogynistic physics department). And now I see this.

I'm floored.

6 comments:

  1. Yikes! That is SO sad. But I can believe it. I work in a pretty male dominant field.

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    1. I was really heart broken to read this. I thought science was the great equalizer. What has me more than anything, is that it's the women just as much as the men who degrade women. That has me scratching my head.

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  2. Ugh. Last time I was at the range, some guy kept asking me if I wanted to shoot his gun because it was smaller. Uh, no thanks. Handling this one pretty well, pal. Geesh!

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    1. That's just wrong. I've done plenty of shooting, and I know a lot of women who could shoot the buttons off the pants of many guys I know who also shoot. Interestingly, I always get the over helpful at the airport. Men always want to help me put my carry on in the overhead bin, but I always tell them no. I work out, and I pack my carry on super heavy (geologist, I actually do pack rocks on the plane). Men get pretty offended when you tell them no, so I have a standing rule. I only refuse their help three times. When they ask the fourth, I let them schlep my rock filled bag.

      They never ask if they can help me get them down...

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  3. Wow. That is stunning and extremely disturbing. I wonder what the stats would be for other professions? And if people would be a lot less likely to vote for a female president over a male?

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    1. Actually, the idea behind this study was that scientists are trained to be objective observers, suggesting that other fields would suffer from this effect worse than science. (Yikes!)

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