GrrlScientist over at Science Blogs has an interesting article discussing the question of whether or not there is an inherent bias against women in science. Not being a scientist, I have no insider’s scoop on this question, but GrrlScientist does and her insights regarding the peer-review process are very interesting. It’s worth reading her whole article to find out how she comes to her conclusions, but here are a couple of highlights (below the fold):
The fact is that female scientists do not publish as often as male scientists. Why? Some people have told me that women do not produce scientific results that are of the same high quality as those produced by men (nor do they write life science blogs as well as men, apparently) and that male reviewers can readily recognize when a woman is the lead (or sole) author of a scientific paper because “women do science differently from men” (whatever that means). Basically, science is still a very sexist community where its female practitioners publish less frequently than men at least partially because of the peer-review system that is in place.
Instead of hand-wringing and asking “Why are there so few women in science? Why are they leaving?”, it is time for the community to begin reflecting on the behavioral data they are being confronted with. Basically, the scientific community makes it very difficult for women to remain in the sciences, and one way in which they do this is through a demonstrable bias against women in the review process.
I didn’t become a scientist because I was sidetracked by religion during the years when I would have otherwise gone to college. I’d definitely be interested in hearing from any other skepchicks who at one time wanted to be scientists but ended up doing something else.