Still think women should get awards for participating? Studies disagree

For every award female academics receive, their male counterparts win eight, a study published in Natural human behavior Magazine found. The study found that 47% of awards named after female scientists went to women, with male academics receiving the majority. The study examined 9,000 awardees and 346 science prizes for their expressions of representation and recognition of women in education. According to a report University of BirminghamMen receive 53% of awards named after notable women in science, revealing a gross underestimation of women’s contributions to science.

Katja Kehmlich, associate professor at the University of Birmingham’s Institute of Cardiovascular Sciences, is the joint lead author of the study. She spoke about the sad reality of women’s recognition despite efforts to raise women’s representation in the global scientific landscape.

Neglect of women scientists

The gender gap among science prize winners is unfortunately the result of a long, systemic problem of women’s underrepresentation in science. „Despite decades of efforts to reform this issue, our study shows that women are still poorly recognized for their scientific contributions, and men are more likely to win prizes and awards, especially if those awards are named after other men,” she said in the statement.

He added that 88% of the awards named after male scientists were given to men. Kehmlich said, „Given how significantly skewed the data is for awards named after men, it seems shocking to me that awards named after women still see more than half of the prizes going to men.”

Efforts to bridge the gap

Katja Kehmlich noted that the scientific community is actively seeking solutions to the gender decline of awardees in academia.

We further propose a list of measures to address and overcome these issues, but know that this will be a long process. „One way the scientific community can begin to address this is through the 'Nominate Him’ movement,” he proposed.

The study’s co-lead author, Stephen Krause of the University of Birmingham’s School of Geology, Earth and Environmental Sciences echoed Kehmlich’s thoughts and explained the purpose of their study.

„Our data point to broader issues of gender inequality within science. Our current publication is an initial attempt to understand the reasons for such striking gender inequality and to promote discussion on the subject within our scientific communities,” he said.

Krauss adds a significant point that nearly two-thirds of science prizes are currently named after men.

„The research culture needs to do a lot to improve the gender prize gap we see to date….More radical paths may be needed, such as renaming or removing the gender designations associated with some awards,” he said.

While women shine with their contributions in science, technology and entrepreneurship, the backward curve in appreciating their efforts exposes the gender bias against women in STEM.

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