Do Male Faculty Members Tend to Disregard Evidence of Gender Bias in STEM Fields?

montana-state2A new study led by researchers at Montana State University found that male faculty members in STEM disciplines were reluctant to accept hard evidence of gender bias in their fields.

The authors of the study presented past studies that showed gender bias by scientists in STEM fields to faculty members. The results showed that male faculty members tended to question the validity of the research more so than women faculty members.

The authors write that “this finding is problematic because broadening the participation of underrepresented people in STEM, including women, necessarily requires a widespread willingness (particularly by those in the majority) to acknowledge that bias exists before transformation can occur.”

Ian M. Handley, a professor of psychology at Montana State University and the lead author of the study, added that “there is a lot of evidence, scientific evidence, demonstrating a systematic bias placing women at a disadvantage — or men at an advantage — in STEM fields. Yet, our research points out that the majority of people in STEM fields and the political system — men — are less receptive to that evidence. Change does not come easily.”

The article, “Quality of Evidence Revealing Subtle Gender Biases in Science Is in the Eye of the Beholder,” was published on the website of the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. It may be downloaded by clicking here.

Filed Under: Research/Study


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