Smaller wage gaps for women in STEM than other careers, the Biophysical Society reports.

Smaller wage gaps for women in STEM than other careers, the Biophysical Society reports. I see a good representation of women at the junior levels, falling off steeply at senior/leadership positions (in my field of biomedical sciences).

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4 Responses to Smaller wage gaps for women in STEM than other careers, the Biophysical Society reports.

  1. Martha E Fay says:

    When a field is relatively new, gender representation always looks pretty good. As you note, it falls off steeply as you go up the ladder. Once the field is fully established, gender representation goes down again. I’ve seen it happen in a couple of different fields. (Gawd, am I that old?)

    Which reminds me: Did you know that in the 1920s there was a far great proportion of women in professions than in the 1970s? Yes, that is true. And, no, I cannot cite my sources. Well, if you put a gun to my head, I probably could find some.

  2. Rajini Rao says:

    I won’t put a gun to your head, but why do you think that is? It fits with your general observation that women are better represented in new fields but fall off over time. Do you think there are fewer stereotypes/prejudices to begin with and as competition increases, these problems increase?

  3. Martha E Fay says:

    I’ve written a long post and deleted. The answer to your specific hypothesis is yes, and. There’s a huge amount of structural sexism; our partners (ie the fathers of our children) are sexist, though they sincerely don’t want to be; and we ourselves have internalized all of it.

    When I was your age (whatever it is exactly), I would never have guessed that it would have changed so little since I was coming up. There are so many ways in which the situation has improved – I can certainly see that, in the lives of my younger colleagues. But as one young colleague (then a pregnant graduate student, now a post-doc with a child) once said: You made us think we could have it all.

    Which is exactly what we thought too, way back when. Nonetheless, it has improved and I’m sure we have gotten beyond the statistics from the 1920s/1970s.

  4. Rajini Rao says:

    Thanks for taking the time to comment, I know it is hard to get the words right in these short blog posts. On a happier note, women like you did show us that we could have it all. I hope your young postdoc colleague still believes that. Certainly, I did at her age. My postdoctoral mentor was a lovely, gracious, (very) senior woman.

    Perhaps I got lucky with my spouse in the partnering department. More likely, I put a lot of effort in getting everyone in the family to understand exactly how important my science/career is to me and getting them on board with me. In the end, the weaker gains women have had still comes down to self confidence. I’ve found that women don’t go pounding on doors demanding more (salary, resources), no wonder there is a salary gap. If I can generalize, most women academics put their priorities on getting the science right, or doing the best work, or being fair and not so much on getting the largest multimillion dollar grant or collecting a string of honorifics. Right now, I’m okay with that. Ask me in ten years, I may think differently.

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