My favorite story on gender bias in science

“Yeah, sure female researchers had a clear disadvantage when applying for a lab manager position. But be serious: Who would want a female in this position anyway!”

In their study “Can Evidence Impact Attitudes? Public Reactions to Evidence of Gender Bias in STEM Fields.”, the authors Corinne A. Moss-Racusin, Aneta Molenda and Charlotte Cramer present social media reactions on the results of a study they did back in 2012: This study showed clear disadvantages for women in STEM. However, more and better information does not necessarily change opinion:

Twenty percent of all the comments justified the existence of gender bias, such this one: “In nearly all the labs I’ve worked, the people who spent the most nights and weekends in the lab were invariably men. I’ve never actually seen a female set up a cot to sleep in the lab while working on experiments.” Of these kinds of comments, some 80 percent were made by men.

I guess it is the genes. Or that women don’t like camping. However, it leaves me speechless: If evidence does not convince people to not discriminate based on superficial characteristics like gender (or race, for that matter), what will?

More about the original study, by Corinne A. Moss-Racusin, John F. Dovidio, Victoria L. Brescoll, Mark J. Graham and Jo Handelsman:

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