The Long Road to Gender Parity in Academic Publishing in STEM Fields

A forthcoming book presents evidence that women will not reach parity with men in scientific publishing for many decades. In some fields, parity may not be achieved for more than a century.

The book, Equity for Women in Science: Dismantling Systemic Barriers to Advancement (Harvard University Press, March 2023), is coauthored by Cassidy R. Sugimoto, a professor and Tom and Marie Patton School Chair in the School of Public Policy at the Georgia Institute of Technology, and Vincent Larivière, a professor of information science at the University of Montreal.

The authors examined close to 5.5 million academic papers published between 2008 and 2020. They used an artificial intelligence algorithm to estimate the sex of the authors of each study. They then compared the percentage of women authors in particular scientific fields and the progress that has been made over recent years.

For example in biology, the percentage of women authors of academic articles in the field of biology in 2008 was 43 percent. By 2020, women were 50 percent of the authors. Using a straight-line project based on the progress made from 2008 to 2020, the authors predict that women will reach parity with men by 2069. The researchers predict that gender parity in chemistry will be achieved by 2087. But in engineering and physics, it will take well more than a century for women to reach parity with men based on the progress that was made between 2008 and 2020.

Professor Sugimoto became chair of the School of Public Policy at the Georgia Institute of Technology in 2021. Earlier, she was a professor of informatics and director of graduate studies in the School of Informatics, Computing and Engineering at Indiana University Bloomington.

Dr. Sugimoto holds a bachelor’s degree in music performance, a master’s degree in library science, and a Ph.D. in information and library science, all from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

Filed Under: Research/Study


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