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Study: Scientists View Women As ‘Less Competent’ In Field

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File photo of a scientist in a lab.  (credit: Richard Drury/GettyImages)

File photo of a scientist in a lab. (credit: Richard Drury/GettyImages)

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NEW HAVEN, Conn. (CBS Connecticut)– A new study reveals male and female scientists engage in gender bias toward women when evaluating job applicants.

Researchers at Yale University showed that scientists scored male candidates higher among 127 job applications.

“The gender of the faculty participants did not affect responses, such that female and male faculty were equally likely to exhibit bias against the female student,” the study stated. “Mediation analyses indicated that the female student was less likely to be hired because she was viewed as less competent.”

The men averaged scores of 4, while women only averaged 3.3.

Women were also offered less money than men. The average starting salary offered to the female job applicants was $26,508, while the average starting salary offered to the men was $30,328.

“Whenever I give a talk that mentions past findings of implicit gender bias in hiring, inevitably a scientist will say that can’t happen in our labs because we are trained to be objective,” Jo Handelsman, lead author and professor at Howard Hughes Medical Institute, told Futurity. “I had hoped that they were right.”

Corinne Moss-Rascusin, post-doctoral associate at the medical institute, says this study reveals “clear gender bias.”

“I think this shows just how subtle and pervasive these cultural stereotypes are,” Moss-Racusin told Futurity. “There has been a feeling that women are underrepresented in the sciences because of personal or lifestyle choices, but it is clear that gender bias is also present.”

Handelsman suggests employers and educators should come up with methods to recognize the unconscious gender bias.

The survey was published in the latest edition of Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

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