March 1, 2011
One area in which female scientists still have to confront sexism is in scholarly awards: women win fewer. Scientific societies must examine practices for selecting awardees.
The proportion of women receiving service or teaching awards in the past two decades is roughly equivalent to the proportion of women within the cohort-adjusted PhD pool in that discipline, but only half of these have won scholarly awards. Using data in the public domain on 13 disciplinary societies, we found that the proportion of female prizewinners in ten of these was much lower than the proportion of female full professors in each discipline (see also P. Leboy The Scientist 22, 67; 2008).
Our investigations reveal that practices for selecting awardees all tend to operate with few guidelines, minimal oversight and little attention to conflict-of-interest issues. Having women on selection committees helps recognition, but many panels have no female members and few have female chairs. . .
Co-authors were Stephanie H. Pincus, founder of the RAISE Project, sponsored by the Society for Women's Health Research; and biochemist Phoebe S. Leboy at the University of Pennsylvania and past president of the Association for Women in Science.
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