Report Examines If There Is Gender Bias at the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development

Six years ago, a group of women scientists at the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development (NICHD) complained that they were vastly underrepresented in leadership roles. After the meeting, the director of the NICHD wrote in an email to the women that “there is wide agreement that we have a serious problem.”

But a new study by Science magazine shows that not only has there been no progress over the past six years but women now have fewer positions on a percentage basis than was the case earlier. In 2011, women led 27 percent of the labs in the Division of Intramural Research. By 2014, the percentage dropped to 25 percent. Today the figure is 23 percent. In contrast, at leading children’s research hospitals canvassed by Science, comparable percentages of women running research labs were between 30 percent and 47 percent.

The study notes that between 2013 and 2019, at least eight female professionals at NICHD filed EEO complaints against Constantine Stratakis, who stepped down as the scientific director in February. Women have also alleged that there has been a significant reduction of research on reproductive disease in adult women.

Dt. Stratakis, who will become director of the Research Institute of the McGill University Health Centre in June, vehemently denies he holds any bias against women scientists and has many women defenders at the NICHD.


Filed Under: Gender GapResearch/StudySTEM Fields

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