Report Finds a Gender Disparity in Laboratory Space at the Scripps Institution of Oceanography

A new report issued by an ad hoc committee at the Scripps Institution of Oceanography of the University of California, San Diego, finds that women make up 26 percent of the total faculty at the institute but have been allocated only 17 percent of the laboratory space.

The report documents that the 56 women scientists at the institute have on average half as much research space and one-third the storage space of their 157 male peers. The 16 labs defined as “very large” all belong to men. Of the 32 storage containers in service yards on campus — as opposed to at less convenient remote locations — 31 are assigned to men. The report also states that women have less office space than their male peers.

The analysis found that the gender differences in lab, storage, and office space could not be explained by seniority, discipline, funding, or size of the faculty member’s research group. Rather they conclude that “our analysis points to the existence of widespread, institution-wide cultural barriers to gender equity within Scripps.”

Pradeep K. Khosla, chancellor of the University of California, San Diego, said in a statement that “these findings do not reflect the values of our university and our commitment to equity, diversity, and inclusion.” He ordered a committee be set up to implement the recommendations of the ad hoc committee to rectify the gender inequality.

Among the recommendations are:

* Remedy the space inequity
* Develop a strategic plan for space usage
* Provide explicit directions for assigning space to new faculty
* Institute a periodic space-evaluation process
* Formally and transparently document space commitments
* Provide space for postdoctoral scholars, graduate students, and visiting faculty

The full report can be found here.

Filed Under: Research/StudySTEM Fields


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