sex-bias in our lifetimes

Rae Nishi nishir at ohsu.edu
Thu Sep 25 13:24:42 EST 1997


The bias these days is rarely overt.  The kind that drives me crazy is
the type where women happen to get "overlooked".  One year at my
institution there was not a single woman speaker invited for a seminar
series that had a speaker every week for the entire academic year (the
following year I got together with another female faculty member and
drew up a list of about 30 prominent women neuroscientists and gave it
to the organizer of the seminar series). There was also a study
published in Nature about gender bias in grant reviews-- women applying
for postdoctoral fellowships (in Sweden, I think) were consistently
rated lower than men with equal or worse qualifications.  When anyone
asks (the male) scientists 'who's hot' in science, the answer is rarely
a woman scientist even though there are plenty publishing in prominent
journals and doing great work.  Although we can try very hard to raise
everyone's awareness, this type of subconscious bias is very difficult
to combat.  I think it's similar to the problem of teachers not calling
on girls as often as boys to answer questions (they don't consciously
do this, it just happens--  how many other opportunities are the girls
missing because they don't come to  mind as standing out?). 

Rae



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