Is There Gender Bias in Grant Funding by the U.S. Government?

gao_logoCongressional representatives Louise M. Slaughter (D-NY), Eddie Bernice Johnson (D-TX), and Rosa DeLauro (D-CT) have requested that the Government Accountability Office (GAO) investigate whether women scientists face bias in the awarding of federal government research grants. In a preliminary report, the GAO found that three of the six largest U.S. government grant-making agencies do not keep demographic data on grant applicants.

The representatives have sent a letter to the heads of the Department of Energy, the Department of Defense, and the National Aeronautics and Space Administration asking them to begin tracking demographic data on grant applicants.

“Given that collectively, research grants awarded to colleges and universities by your three agencies represented well over $3 billion in federal funds in 2014, it is important for us to know whether any gender or other bias might exist in the decision-making processes involved in awarding these grants,” the lawmakers wrote. “We strongly urge you to begin collecting demographic data on your grant making as soon as practicable. It is essential that the grant-making process allocating billions of taxpayer dollars each year be fair and equitable to all involved.”

Filed Under: Gender GapResearch/StudySTEM Fields

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