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  1. #1
    insert random title here Randomnity's Avatar
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    Default Study proves gender bias exists in science

    Excerpts:

    In a real-world setting, typically the most we can do is identify differences in outcome. A man is selected for hire over a woman; fewer women reach tenure track positions; there’s a gender gap in publications. Bias may be suspected in some cases, but the difficulty in using outcomes to prove it is that the differences could be due to many potential factors. We can speculate: perhaps women are less interested in the field. Perhaps women make lifestyle choices that lead them away from leadership positions. In a real-world setting, when any number of variables can contribute to an outcome, it’s essentially impossible to tease them apart and pinpoint what is causative.
    In a randomized double-blind study....Half the scientists were given the application with a male name attached, and half were given the exact same application with a female name attached. Results found that the “female” applicants were rated significantly lower than the “males” in competence, hireability, and whether the scientist would be willing to mentor the student. The scientists also offered lower starting salaries to the “female” applicants: $26,507.94 compared to $30,238.10.
    (side note: that salary jump might seem small, but when you earn that little it's a huge difference in quality of life, particularly if you have kids)

    Sexism exists. It’s real. Certainly, you cannot and should not argue it’s everything. But no longer can you argue it’s nothing.

    We are not talking about equality of outcomes here; this result shows bias thwarts equality of opportunity.
    Both male and female scientists were equally guilty of committing the gender bias. ...“If faculty express gender biases, we are not suggesting that these biases are intentional or stem from a conscious desire to impede the progress of women in science. Past studies indicate that people’s behavior is shaped by implicit or unintended biases, stemming from repeated exposure to pervasive cultural stereotypes that portray women as less competent…”
    When scientists judged the female applicants more harshly, they did not use sexist reasoning to do so. Instead, they drew upon ostensibly sound reasons to justify why they would not want to hire her: she is not competent enough.
    Practically, this fact makes it all the more easy for women to internalize unfair criticisms as valid. If your work is rejected for an obviously bad reason, such as “it’s because you’re a woman,” you can simply dismiss the one who rejected you as biased and therefore not worth taking seriously. But if someone tells you that you are less competent, it’s easy to accept as true.
    I’m willing to bet that many in the study, just like people who take Implicit Association Tests, would be upset to learn they subconsciously discriminate against women, and they would want to fix it. Implicit biases cannot be overcome until they are realized, and this study accomplishes that key first step: awareness.
    http://blogs.scientificamerican.com/...hy-it-matters/

    The study was recently published in PNAS, a very prestigious scientific journal, and their methodology looks sound.

    thoughts?
    -end of thread-

  2. #2
    Wake, See, Sing, Dance Cellmold's Avatar
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    This is not a surprise to me. Most people, as it mentions in the article, have biases that simmer beneath the surface whether they are aware of them or not. In fact this should be all people, as all people have these same biases, although not necessarily about the same content but they are biases of the same attitude and style.

    The only way to defeat them is to throw yourself wholly into the mindsets that are anathema to such subtle influences in the first place, doing so long enough that it becomes habit and the bias is frittered slowly away. Unfortunately most people are, (by the nature of being unaware), unable or unwilling to do this. Many may make a show of doing so, but internally they are being lazy and pretending to grow when really they are retreating back to an older mind set.

    I wouldn't say I was entirely innocent or guilty of this, but my biases generally lie at the personal level with individuals, groups are...more or less up for debate in my mind, although I am not above saying that there probably are plenty of groups I am biased against....im just not aware of it yet.

    Often such biases are most readily revealed in moments of stress or sudden difficult situations.
    'One of (Lucas) Cranach's masterpieces, discussed by (Joseph) Koerner, is in it's self-referentiality the perfect expression of left-hemisphere emptiness and a precursor of post-modernism. There is no longer anything to point to beyond, nothing Other, so it points pointlessly to itself.' - Iain McGilChrist

    Suppose a tree fell down, Pooh, when we were underneath it?"
    "Suppose it didn't," said Pooh, after careful thought.
    Piglet was comforted by this.
    - A.A. Milne.

  3. #3
    Blah Orangey's Avatar
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    Someone sent this to me this morning. I don't know why it's not fucking obvious without all of the scientific rigamarole, but I guess the public could use periodic reminders. The saddest thing is the comments section, which I'm sure you have already predicted will be replicated here.

    If you wanted to speed the process up, you should have posted this in the politics subforum.
    Artes, Scientia, Veritasiness

  4. #4
    @.~*virinaĉo*~.@ Totenkindly's Avatar
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    The double-blind study method seems pretty obvious to me as a way to check, and the results not really hard to decipher nor a surprise.

    (I'm #1, in the list of four groups, btw, if you read the article. Maybe this will perk up the #2's.)
    "Hey Capa -- We're only stardust." ~ "Sunshine"

    “Pleasure to me is wonder—the unexplored, the unexpected, the thing that is hidden and the changeless thing that lurks behind superficial mutability. To trace the remote in the immediate; the eternal in the ephemeral; the past in the present; the infinite in the finite; these are to me the springs of delight and beauty.” ~ H.P. Lovecraft

  5. #5
    insert random title here Randomnity's Avatar
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    I think I was somewhere between #1 and #2. I wasn't completely surprised overall, but it was interesting to see it confirmed in such an unambiguous way, particularly that there is actually a significant gap in offered salary purely due to male/female names (!!) as well as the fact that male and female scientists were equally biased. I might be a little sheltered since I have a really fantastic (female) PI for a grad supervisor, and sexism is really something I hear about far, far more than something I experience....but if this study is accurate, I could be experiencing it without even knowing (and without the hiring scientist even knowing!).

    Quote Originally Posted by Orangey View Post
    If you wanted to speed the process up, you should have posted this in the politics subforum.
    Yeah, I wasn't really sure which one would be better. I figured I'd rather focus on the career side than the "ZOMG MEN VS WOMEN" side, but that's just my preference.

    I thought group 4 was particularly funny, since there definitely would have been some of those comments if they hadn't mentioned it (still might be).
    -end of thread-

  6. #6
    @.~*virinaĉo*~.@ Totenkindly's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Randomnity View Post
    I thought group 4 was particularly funny, since there definitely would have been some of those comments if they hadn't mentioned it (still might be).
    Obviously for sterile and post-menopausal women, there should be no bias.
    "Hey Capa -- We're only stardust." ~ "Sunshine"

    “Pleasure to me is wonder—the unexplored, the unexpected, the thing that is hidden and the changeless thing that lurks behind superficial mutability. To trace the remote in the immediate; the eternal in the ephemeral; the past in the present; the infinite in the finite; these are to me the springs of delight and beauty.” ~ H.P. Lovecraft

  7. #7
    insert random title here Randomnity's Avatar
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    wait, crap, I meant group 3, I was going on memory. But yeah, I guess those exist here too.
    -end of thread-

  8. #8
    Undisciplined Starry's Avatar
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    I'm in group 1

  9. #9
    Analytical Dreamer Coriolis's Avatar
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    I'm in group 1 as well. There is gender bias everywhere. We are constantly allowing our perception of others, and by extension our treatment, to be colored by gender. Sometimes hiring, school admissions, or award decisions are made based on application materials with the names removed, precisely for this reason.
    I've been called a criminal, a terrorist, and a threat to the known universe. But everything you were told is a lie. The truth is, they've taken our freedom, our home, and our future. The time has come for all humanity to take a stand...

  10. #10
    Undisciplined Starry's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Coriolis View Post
    I'm in group 1 as well. There is gender bias everywhere. We are constantly allowing our perception of others, and by extension our treatment, to be colored by gender. Sometimes hiring, school admissions, or award decisions are made based on application materials with the names removed, precisely for this reason.
    ^^^I just repped you this very thing...but thought I would say it here as well that this idea should be made standard practice. I don't want to take away from the issue of gender...but I have seen basically the same study...but using either 'english' names and/or 'ethnic sounding names' and the results are just terrible.

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