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Gendered-Oriented Funding in Academic Science Is Biased In Favor Of Women

Gendered-Oriented Funding in Academic Science Is Biased In Favor Of Women

Cornell Professor Wendy Williams: “It’s important to get a grip on what’s going on today and not what was going on in 1985.”

My colleague Mike LaChance wrote an exceptionally interesting article on a new study that has been published that asserts there is no evidence to support widespread claims of gender bias in tenure-track hiring, grant funding, and journal acceptances in the academic sciences.

Stephen J. Ceci of the psychology department at Cornell, with his associates Shulamit Kahn and Wendy M. Williams, have looked at reports of gender bias in academic science from 2000 to 2020 and came to a conclusion that went against the accepted narrative: There is no gender bias in the academic sciences.

As a woman who once was steeped in academic science, I wanted to explore this issue a bit further.  Interestingly, a 2021 analysis of 145 science journals that specifically sought to look for gender bias in these publications also struggled to find evidence of it. The team concluded that the “results showed that manuscripts written by women as solo authors or coauthored by women were treated even more favorably by referees and editors. Although there were some differences between fields of research, our findings suggest that peer review and editorial processes do not penalize manuscripts by women.

The numbers suggest that the assertions of gender bias aren’t working as the narrative suggests.

Our results indicated no statistical gender gap in acceptance rates. The Bayesian-learning model found that, after controlling for all other variables (including the recommendations), manuscripts by women were more likely to be accepted in journals of all disciplines except social sciences, where we did not find any significant gender difference. To quantify the effect of gender, we used the model to predict the final acceptance of all manuscripts in our dataset with the hypothetical scenario that all authors were either men or women. In case of biomedical and health sciences journals, manuscripts written by women were predicted to be 5% more likely to be accepted than manuscripts written by men (women were predicted to be accepted in 45% of cases).

This second and strong data point indicates less discrimination against women in the academic sciences than advertised.

Katherine Knott, who prepared the review of the Cornell team’s work Psychological Science in the Public Interest for Inside Higher Ed indicates that several organizations who have argued that gender bias does exist in the academic sciences were asked for comment on the findings. Apparently, there have not been any takers, yet.

A spokeswoman for the Association of Women in Science, which works to address gender bias in higher education, said she hadn’t read the report yet. The American Association of University Women did not respond to a request for comment on the paper. Both groups have maintained that there is gender bias in science.

I suspect that admission to the lack of gender bias will not be forthcoming among any organization steeped in doling out rewards based on sex any time soon.  A glance at the offerings to “fund” women in science shows that the monies support woke ideology and en-vogue narratives that have little to do with true science.

Let’s take a look at some examples.  In 2019, there were 20 recipients of the Organization for Women in Science for the Developing World (OWSD) Early Career fellowship program. Here is what that money went to:

The Early Career fellows were selected from a highly competitive pool of candidates based on the strength of their research proposals and their proven scientific excellence as well as leadership skills. They include a computer scientist from Tanzania building an app to help farmers diagnose poultry diseases through deep learning technology, a biologist from Laos trying to catalog and preserve the diversity of reptiles and amphibians in her country, and a biologist from Guatemala harnessing the natural detoxification properties of aquatic plants to filter harmful contaminants from lakes.

The European Molecular Biology Organization (EMBO) is all about funding women…to talk about gender and diversity.

Women in Science Lectures address issues related to gender and diversity in science. They are given at scientific meetings funded by EMBO.

Organizers of conferences funded through the EMBO Courses & Workshop Programme wishing to invite a scientist to speak about gender and diversity issues are encouraged to apply for this lecture grant.

Expenses can be reimbursed up to 800 euros (for European speakers) and 1,200 euros (for overseas speakers) to cover travel and accommodation costs.

To be fair, a real robust and serious scientific renaissance is in order in which gender realities are recognized and embraced. However, I have to assume that is not the type of gender discussion EMBO has in mind.

The Cornell team suggests that progress should be acknowledged and decisions on funding and staffing be made on real issues impacting today’s academic community.

Ceci said the report shows that institutions are putting money where it’s not needed, such as the trainings aimed at rooting out bias on hiring committees. He and Williams questioned if the trainings are needed given that women are receiving an advantage in the hiring process.

“It’s important to get a grip on what’s going on today and not what was going on in 1985,” Williams said, adding that institutions should be able to acknowledge when efforts to address gender disparities in certain areas have worked.

Fun fact about 1985: It is the year I came to California to be a graduate student in chemistry at the University of California – San Diego! Much has changed in the ensuing 38 years!

In conclusion, the time has come for a serious reassessment of gender-based funding and reevaluating the woke narratives that appear to be the focus of some of those monies.


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Sternverbs | May 3, 2023 at 9:06 am

Biased in favor of ACTUAL women or penis-possessing-currently-non-birthing-human-persons who identify as women?

    alaskabob in reply to Sternverbs. | May 3, 2023 at 11:08 am

    Rest assured, Fluke’s concern for women’s reproductive rights have been extended to those penis-possessing-currently-non-birthing-human-persons who identify as women”. Good time to pass around the birth control tabs.

Sex-oriented funding motivated by class-disordered (e.g. feminist) ideology.

The entire education system is biased in favor of female students.


E Howard Hunt | May 3, 2023 at 9:45 am

One tires of this charade. A study is conducted concerning the mistreatment of a sainted, aggrieved group. Specialized statistical and research methods are brought to bear on the subject, completely ignoring the reality of the situation. It is common knowledge that women have been afforded special treatment for decades, so the studies are disingenuous.

The proper question of study is “Are published female studies of lesser quality and rigor?” Experts could be assigned to evaluate the quality of papers whose authors’ genders have been hidden. This will never be done because everybody knows what the result will be. Clever boys are just cleverer than clever girls. Boo hoo.

    bullhubbard in reply to E Howard Hunt. | May 4, 2023 at 10:08 am

    I agree 100%.

    It also occurs to me that Feminism has concocted the myth of the “patriarchy” in order to install an actual matriarchy. We are getting a preview of life under a matriarchy with stories like this, the social destruction caused by the deliberate manufacturing of the tranny social contagion, the feminization of the military, and the-state-as-mother in public school primary grades teaching its children how to alienate themselves from the old order while grooming them to accept the new order.

    The invention of the birth control pill began the end of Western civilization. It contributed to a perfect storm along with the psychedelic revolution, the “anti-war” movement and the corresponding entry of revolutionary Communists into the academy. The tranny social contagion is end-of-days decadence similar to Wiemar Germany.

CommoChief | May 3, 2023 at 9:48 am

The time for halting the discriminatory nature of hiring, retention and promotion decisions is way overdue. Either we want the best person or we want someone who ticks off a particular box of immutable characteristics. Either we place the highest priority on merit and competence or we don’t.

Anecdotally, I have no doubt that I was discriminated against as a cis white male from rural Alabama. Sometimes it was open and blatant, sometimes more subtle. I have been passed over by a quantifiable less qualified and ultimately unsuccessful person several times. Most times I was called in to clean up the mess after they eased the incompetent they selected out to pasture, but without the promotion or title. Following the clean up another clone of the incompetent was installed and I was again shunted aside in favor another who ticked the box the leadership wanted.

There are plenty of stereotypes and prejudices that some choose to cling to about many groups including mine. All of it is stupid when dealing with an individual. As a Gen X born post civil rights era who spent my entire life in an integrated society I have a philosophical outlook about all this. Perhaps the sort of thing I experienced was justified as a needed remedy for the discriminatory society that preceded Gen X. If so then the price has been paid in the 50+ years since the passage of the major civil rights legislation. If the impact of this discrimination v my generation suffices as the sacrifice required to prevent my children and the next generations from facing the same then I can live with it; otherwise not so much.

The best science that ideology and money can buy.

ChrisPeters | May 3, 2023 at 1:22 pm

“. . . manuscripts . . .”????

How dare they use such a word??!!??

It is correctly written, “personscripts”.

Sandra Fluke…I remember that chick. She claimed she was too poor to buy condoms or something then went on a European vacation with her boyfriend. Her 15min was about 14:30 too long

A point of clarification, Ms. Eastman? Your headline states, in part, “… biased in favor of women.” That sounds ambiguous. What do you mean by “women”?

henrybowman | May 3, 2023 at 4:25 pm

“Gendered-Oriented Funding in Academic Science Is Biased In Favor Of Women”

Struck me as a kind of duh headline. If it’s gender-oriented in the first place, you already know which gender is going to be preferred. I don’t know of any gender-oriented program that is biased towards men, except for free prostate cancer screenings, and I’m still waiting for those.

“manuscripts written by women were predicted to be 5% more likely to be accepted than manuscripts written by men”

It’s the Guilt Premium. Or the Virtue Signaling Premium, however you want to look at it. It’s the same premium enjoyed by, say, black presidential candidates.

All of these “studies” say women are treated better, but then conclude “no gender bias”. Sorry, just because the bias isn’t in the direction you were looking for doesn’t mean there’s no bias.

” the hypothetical scenario that all authors were either men or women”

Huh??!!? Hypothetical?????!?!?!?!

Sandra Fluke? Is that slut back again?

bullhubbard | May 4, 2023 at 9:54 am

I reject the conclusion. It’s not so much that “the time has come for a serious reassessment of gender-based funding,” but that the time has come to abandon higher ed entirely. It is past reforming short of a total purge of existing faculty and a repurposing of mission, like what Rufo and company are doing in Florida, but on a national scale.