Women Scientists Face Discrimination – UK Study
Author: Womens UN Report Network
Date: July 22, 2005
Women Scientists Face
Discrimination, Says Study
Thursday March 20, 2008
Women continue to struggle to reach
the top echelons of academia due to discrimination, according to new research
presented at the Royal Economic Society annual conference this week.
Glass Ceilings – Thicker at the Top?, by Dr Sara Connolly and Dr Susan Long at
the University of East Anglia found that women are less likely than men to be
promoted to a professorial position at universities. It also found that women
are less likely to be promoted out of postdoctoral posts at research
strong evidence to suggest that around of a third of the promotional gap
between men and women is due to differential and disadvantaged treatment of
women the study concludes.
said: “The female scientific workforce is generally younger and so less
likely to have key responsibilities or have the same level of achievements.
This certainly explains most of the promotion gap.
between a quarter and a third is unexplained, which leads us to conclude that
there is strong evidence that women do experience different treatment and
disadvantage in terms of career progression.”
examined the careers of 4,200 scientists in universities and 2,200 working in
research institutes. The data includes information about their employment
history, work and domestic responsibilities and indicators of professional
esteem, which can be used to ensure that the analysis compares like with like
when comparing the relative chances of men and women being promoted.
education, the study found a familiar pattern of steadily falling levels of
female employment as seniority rises. Women represent 54% of postdocs, 41% of
lecturers, 31% of senior lecturers and 16% of professors.
institutes, women represent 54% of postdocs, 24% of senior scientists, 20% of
principal scientists and 19% of research directors.
says that women scientists in the UK face glass ceilings, but the point at
which women hit the ceiling depends on where they work. The glass ceiling in
universities is a barrier at the top, but in research institutes barriers are
at lower levels, so women are less likely to be promoted out of postdoctoral
said: “These results certainly raise the question of whether the UK is
making best use of this highly skilled workforce and whether these publicly
funded organisations are meeting the obligations set out in the 2007 gender
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