Physicist Yanks Sheets Off Sex Scandal

I’m speaking of cosmologist and writer Sean Carroll, who gently informs his peers that Scientists, Your Gender Bias Is Showing:

I know it’s fun to change the subject and talk about bell curves and intrinsic ability, but hopefully we can all agree that people with the same ability should be treated equally. And they are not.

That’s the conclusion of a new study in PNAS by Corinne Moss-Racusin and collaborators at Yale. (Hat tip Dan Vergano.)

This study, Carroll relates, took a bunch of academic scientists and gave each one a sham application supposedly from a student applying to be a lab manager. The applications were all identical — except that half had male names and the other half had female names. Alas, the scientists, both male and female (as groups), rated the applications with female names on them lower in competence, hireability, and mentoring ability.

Here’s the damning data:

Does this matter? Right where it hurts. The scientists said they’d pay the male applicants a starting roughly $5000 a year more — a bonus of almost 20% for the Y chromosome.

Carroll’s message to earthling scientists: “This is my profession, and I’d like to see it do better.”

Get the whole thing (and lots of other goodies) at the excellent Cosmic Variance: Scientists, Your Gender Bias Is Showing 

Study at PNAS: Science faculty’s subtle gender biases favor male students


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