bias in peer review

Constanze Bonifer bonifer at
Tue Jun 17 04:13:26 EST 1997

Neo Martinez (neo at wrote:
: Howdy Folks,
: 	A couple of people mentioned an idea that may be rather
: destructive of some goals we hold in common.  That idea is the assertion
: that affirmative action programs and separate evaluations for different
: groups fosters the notion that women and minorities are less qualified for
: the positions they hold.  This assertion gains more credibility from
: our repetition of it.  
: 	What these many studies and our own experiences demonstrate is
: that there is a literally *incredible* institutionalized affirmative
: action program in place for white males.  Folks who post keep saying it's
: discrimination against us rather than affirmative action for them.  The
: fact is that white males have their powerful positions largely because of
: their race and gender.  Both those traits treat them to preferential
: treatment from the day they are born 'til much after they're dead and
: gone.
: 	My point is this:  Quit being on the defensive.  Go on the
: offensive.  White males benefit from overwhelming amounts of
: institutionalized affirmative action (from TV to politics to education to
: peer review). It is they who are less qualified due to their talents and
: more "qualified" due to their race and gender.  Start telling them so! 
: Isn't that what all these studies are saying? 
: 	-neo

Yes. This is exactly what these studies say.And that is why I say:
Develop countermeasures.Say: it is a FACT that there is discrimination.
So we want out fair share.
I am speaking from a country where affirmative action is non-existant.

Here science is completely male dominated. I am fighting things like:
Being constantly addressed with Herr in letters, in spite of the fact that I am Frau,since nobody seems to be able to imagine that a woman is an 
assistant professor 
having to develop a certain style of speech, because I am the only woman in 
lab leader meeting and nobody would listen to me if would not 
have developed a loud voice,
and in turn..when I gain some respect, I am a bitch.
having to discuss with men about whether to employ a female as academic 
director even when she is in child bearing age and may go on maternity leave,
and so on.

In this respect I envy the US. Even if you think you have a long way to go.
But at least there is some conciousness about the problem.


Constanze Bonifer

Institut fuer BiologieIII
Universitaet Freiburg

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