Study Finds Women Early-Career Scientists Significantly Less Likely to Receive Grant Funding Than Male Peers

A new study from the University of Oregon, in partnership with the University of Maryland and the University of Hong Kong, has found a gender gap in early-career grant recipients in the life science fields.

According to the study, the share of women earning doctoral degrees in life sciences has steadily increased over the past 40 years. In 2020, women represented 55 percent of all life science doctorate recipients, compared to just 30 percent in 1985.

The study found that women in senior-ranking professorships have effectively achieved gender parity in their share of research grants compared to their male peers, but a large gender disparity was seen in junior-level scholars. Achieving tenure is crucial for education professionals to gain academic freedom in their work and pursue research initiatives. However, the researchers found the probability of holding a full-time tenured academic position was roughly 20 percent for women and 40 percent for men in life science fields.

The research team believes their findings point towards an urgent need to support young women scientists and their professional development. They suggest universities and grant-funding institutions establish grant-writing assistance programs and dedicate research funding programs specifically tailored to early-career women scientists.

Filed Under: Gender GapResearch/StudySTEM Fields


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