Many people believe that discrimination involves explicit, blatant hostility, but current bias against women scientists and engineers is often subtle, implicit, and unexamined. Under prevailing gender schemas, competent women are often viewed as “overaggressive” and “not nice” whereas traditionally subservient women are seen as “incompetent.” In addition, organizational rules and policies that appear egalitarian often produce different results for men and women. The playing field is not level. Women and minority groups make up an increasing proportion of the labor force. They also are an increasing proportion of the pool of students from which universities can recruit faculty. To capture and capitalize on this talent, policies adopted when the workplace was more homogeneous need to be changed to create organizational structures that manage diversity effectively. Equity efforts need to address the systemic changes required to build and sustain educational, research, and workplace environments that promote effective participation in an increasingly pluralistic society.


4.1 Throughout a scientific or engineering career, advancement depends on judgments of one’s performance by more senior scientists and engineers. A substantial body of research shows these judgments contain arbitrary and subjective components that disadvantage women. The criteria underlying the judgments developed over many decades when women scientists and engineers were a tiny and often marginal presence and men were considered the norm.

4.2 Gender bias—often unexamined, and held and acted on by people of both sexes who believe themselves unbiased—has affected many women scientists’ chances of career progress. Minority-group women face the double bind of racial and gender bias.

4.3 Incidents of bias against individuals not in the majority group tend to have accumulated effects. Small preferences for the majority group can accumulate and create large differences in prestige, power, and position. In academic science and engineering, the advantages have accrued to white men and have translated into larger salaries, faster promotions, and more publications and honors relative to women.

4.4 Women have the qualities needed to succeed in academic careers and do so more readily when given an equal opportunity to achieve. For example, publication productivity is one of the most important factors by which scientists are evaluated for hiring, promotion, and

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