Choices – not discrimination – determine women scientists’ success

 

Wendy Williams

Williams

Stephen Ceci

Ceci

It’s an incendiary topic in academia – the pervasive belief that women are underrepresented in science, math and engineering fields because they face sex discrimination in the interviewing, hiring, and grant and manuscript review processes. In a study published online Feb. 7 in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, Cornell social scientists say it’s just not true.

It’s not discrimination in these areas, but rather, differences in resources attributable to career and family-related choices that set women back in STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) fields, say Stephen J. Ceci, the H.L. Carr Professor of Developmental Psychology, and Wendy M. Williams, professor of human development and director of the Cornell Institute for Women in Science, both in Cornell’s College of Human Ecology.

The data show that women scientists are confronted with choices, beginning at or before adolescence, which influence their career trajectories and success. Read the full story

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