Sexism in science?

An editorial published last week in the top journal Nature asks how we can improve the representation of women in science and publishing research (Nature’s sexism, 21 November 2012). The editorial took the view that the proportion of women publishing news and empirical papers in the journal has been too low, and also mentions research showing that there may be discrimination in hiring and salary for academic positions.

What’s holding women back from
the top jobs in science and research?
Photo: © Racnus | 
Stock Free Images

The article comes to a conclusion that academics and editors of journals should be making a conscious effort to address this imbalance. I want to know if you agree with this approach.

But before you form an opinion, I want to point out that this editorial specifically mentions that they considered factors that might lead to the imbalance, such as women taking time off to have children, women being less aggressive or assertive in asking for raises, women being asked to do academic tasks other than writing and publishing (like being on committees), and they still believe that there is an unfair discrimination even after taking all that into account. They also emphasize that they do not believe anyone should publish a paper that is inferior to another paper simply because it was written by a woman, nor should they employ people who aren’t qualified just because they are women.

So keeping those things in mind, do you agree with their approach of trying to consciously consider women more in science roles? Is that even compatible with all of the other factors mentioned above?

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