Male authors outnumber their female counterparts on international relations course reading lists by more than five to one
Do scholars produce and reproduce a biased representation of the academy when compiling their taught course reading lists? Following a year-long mapping exercise of the university’s entire international relations curriculum by a group of PhD students at the LSE, Gustav Meibauer, Kiran Phull and Gokhan Ciflikli found that male authors continue to significantly outnumber their female counterparts, with little discernible progress over the last two decades. Visualisations of the research data have been made available online, and the authors invite the academic community to contribute to discussions on their project, its implications, and the disciplinary and pedagogical questions it provokes.
The gendered impact agenda – how might more female academics’ research be submitted as REF impact case studies?
As the impact agenda increases in importance, appropriate consideration should be given to its effects on female academics. The REF has obviously gendered implications, with a number of different factors combining to exacerbate existing inequalities in the academy. Emily Yarrow and Julie Davies have examined impact case study submissions to the REF2014 business and management studies unit of assessment and found women to be significantly underrepresented. There is clearly scope to foster further inclusion of women in the impact agenda through doctoral education, while institutions might also consider the creation of a new career path of “REF impact case fellows” who are rewarded for their focus on impact as a clear career track.
How are academic lives sustained? Gender and the ethics of care in the neoliberal accelerated academy
Intensifying work demands under “new managerial” practices are changing academics’ experiences. In this environment, how are academic lives sustained? Which model of science are we engaging in? And what part does gender play? Ester Conesa explores how existing gender biases in the academy are exacerbated by caring work – still mostly taken on by women – not being properly valued but instead understood as a burden. The idealised academic is ready to devote an entire life to work, even in precarious conditions, with scant regard for how lives are sustained materially, emotionally, or in the family. An “ethics of care” perspective places caring responsibilities back at the centre of academic life.
Bias against women in academia is well-documented. Not only are female scientists underrepresented in academic institutions, particularly in higher ranks, but there are also certain studies that include only male participants, thereby producing biased knowledge. Magdalena Formanowicz, Aleksandra Cislak and Tamar Saguy have studied another form of gender bias among scientists: bias against research on gender bias. Research on gender bias is found to be funded less often and more likely to be published in journals widely considered to be less prestigious.
What does it take to climb the career ladder in UK academia? And who gets to the top? Camille B. Kandiko Howson reports on research that highlights the role of prestige and “indicators of esteem” in hiring and promotion decisions. Prestige is found to be a gendered concept, with the indicators of esteem – publication rates, first author status, keynote invitations – being more easily acquired by men. Meanwhile, the work that motivates many women in academia, such as group success in a research lab or delivering quality teaching programmes, is often ignored or undervalued. Broader aspects of academic work should be recognised to allow for a greater variety of indicators to support diversity and inclusion within the sector.
Gender equity in health research funding: what do we know, what do we wish we knew, and where do we go from here?
Research shows women continue to face systematic disadvantages in research funding competitions, publishing, hiring, and promotion. Zena Sharman considers what can be done to foster gender equity, including piloting unconscious bias training and developing a clear definition of what is meant by equity and how that informs strategic and operational work.
A vicious circle of gender bias has meant differences between men’s and women’s scholarly productivity have not changed since the 1960s
Gender differences in scholarly productivity have proved a persistent problem. But to what extent is the situation improving for younger generations of female academics? Ulf Sandström and Peter van den Besselaar report on research showing that overall productivity for female researchers is about two thirds of male productivity, a ratio that had actually already been established by the end of the 1960s and has remained stable ever since. Gender influences female researchers’ academic rank, role in research teams and networks, and likelihood of being awarded funding. This then has a negative effect on their productivity, which in turn reinforces their lower status and position. This vicious circle means career differences will not simply diminish over time.
During academic seminars, any given question is 2.5 times more likely to be asked by a male than a female audience member. Alecia Carter reports on this research, which suggests that internalised gender stereotypes are at least partly responsible for the observed imbalance, both in men’s participation and women’s lack of it. The findings are important as having models one can identify with is key to how people perceive their possibility for success in any given career, and are particularly relevant in the context of the wider issue of the attrition of women in academia. While there is no easy fix, the data suggests that ensuring the first question is asked by a woman and having longer time for questions could ameliorate the imbalance.
Improved representation of female scientists in the media can show future generations of women that they belong
The attrition of women from STEM careers has been attributed to many factors, such as work/life balance, biased hiring committees, and prejudiced editorial boards. But might it also be that women still do not see themselves as “real” scientists, or lack female role models? Miranda Hart reports on research examining women’s visibility in two high-profile scientific publications. Not only were men far more likely to be the corresponding author on scientific papers and more likely to appear as a featured scientist, there were also far fewer photos of women, even among advertisements and stock photos. Science journals continue to portray the image of a scientist as almost exclusively male, which undoubtedly trickles down to young girls, who are struggling to see where they fit in.