. "4 Success and Its Evaluation inScience and Engineering." Beyond Bias and Barriers: Fulfilling the Potential of Women in Academic Science and Engineering. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press, 2007.
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Beyond Bias and Barriers: Fulfilling the Potential of Women in Academic Science and Engineering
Many people believe that discrimination involves explicit, blatant hostility, but current bias against women scientists and engineers is often subtle, implicit, and unexamined. Under prevailinggender schemas, competent women are often viewed as “overaggressive” and “not nice” whereas traditionally subservient womenare seen as “incompetent.” In addition, organizational rules andpolicies that appear egalitarian often produce different results formen 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 fromwhich universities can recruit faculty. To capture and capitalize onthis talent, policies adopted when the workplace was more homogeneous need to be changed to create organizational structures thatmanage diversity effectively. Equity efforts need to address thesystemic 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 andengineers. A substantial body of research shows these judgments contain arbitrary and subjective components that disadvantage women.The criteria underlying the judgments developed over many decadeswhen women scientists and engineers were a tiny and often marginalpresence and men were considered the norm.
4.2 Gender bias—often unexamined, and held and acted on by peopleof both sexes who believe themselves unbiased—has affected manywomen scientists’ chances of career progress. Minority-group womenface the double bind of racial and gender bias.
4.3 Incidents of bias against individuals not in the majority grouptend to have accumulated effects. Small preferences for the majoritygroup can accumulate and create large differences in prestige, power,and position. In academic science and engineering, the advantages haveaccrued to white men and have translated into larger salaries, fasterpromotions, and more publications and honors relative to women.
4.4 Women have the qualities needed to succeed in academic careersand do so more readily when given an equal opportunity to achieve.For example, publication productivity is one of the most importantfactors by which scientists are evaluated for hiring, promotion, and