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Investigating gender disparity and bias in STEM: How to learn more.

By: , Posted on: March 12, 2020

While the overall representation of women in research has increased, gender disparity and bias in STEM remain significant topics for discussion. They negatively affect both career paths and the breadth and impact of research. While the gains in equal opportunity and representation should be acknowledged, it is more important to recognize the areas where effort is still needed.

How to learn more about gender inequality in STEM

The lack of equality for women in research can be seen in evidence-based analyses of publication output, citations, awarded grants and collaboration opportunities. Such an approach was applied in Elsevier’s 2020 report The researcher journey through a gender lens: An examination of research participation, career progression and perceptions across the globe.

This is the third annual gender-focused report from Elsevier. Building on the approaches of previous years, it has expanded its scope to cover more countries and offer new elements, including career progression and collaboration network analyses.

Download your copy of the report

Key findings of this year’s report

  • In all the countries studied and in the 28 countries of the EU, there is a trend toward parity in the number of female to male authors.
  • In every country, the percentage of women who continue to publish is lower than the percentage of men who continue to publish.
  • In an analysis of first authors, the average citation impact for men was found to be higher than that for women, suggesting a gender bias in citation practice.
  • Researcher attitudes toward gender diversity and equity vary widely among men and women. The differences in viewpoints arise from the individual’s perception of fairness and gender balance in the academic system.

How to learn more from women in STEM

Selected chapters from four recent professional and career development books are available to read now, for a limited time on ScienceDirect. These titles, all authored and/or edited by leading women in STEM, were chosen for their relationship to the findings of The researcher journey through a gender lens.

Inspiring Conversations with Women Professors: The Many Routes to Career Success by Anna Garry features interviews with a diverse group of women in faculty and leadership positions, and from a broad range of STEM disciplines. It provides stories behind the many paths to professorship taken by these featured women, including the obstacles they encountered and how they overcame them.
Read the Introduction now on ScienceDirect

Communicating as Women in STEM by Charlotte Brammer teaches constructive communication strategies for interaction with mentees, mentors, faculty, managers, colleagues and other professionals. The intention is to provide women and other underrepresented groups, faculty and administrators with the tools they need to break barriers raised by different communication styles within the STEM fields.
Read Chapter 2 – Stereotypes and Stacked Decks: Can Females Really Be Scientists and Engineers? on ScienceDirect

Success Strategies from Women in STEM, edited by Peggy A. Pritchard and Christine Grant is a comprehensive and accessible manual containing career advice, mentoring support, and professional development strategies for female scientists in the STEM fields. Chapter topics include leadership and negotiation, important coverage of career management, networking, social media, communication skills, and more.
Read Chapter 3 – Mentoring: Empowering Your Success on ScienceDirect

Equitable Solutions for Retaining a Robust STEM Workforce: Beyond Best Practices by Donna J. Dean and Janet B. Koster presents best practices and internationally transportable policies to support and accommodate STEM work/life satisfaction. It discusses universal issues such as dual careers and strategic decision making, childcare/dependent care in professional  contexts, promoting family-friendly policies, as well as mentoring and networking.
Read Chapter 1 – Envisioning the STEM Workplace of the Future: The Need for Work/Life Programs and Family-Friendly Practices on ScienceDirect

Further recommended reading

Other titles in our current professional and career development publishing initiative focused on women in STEM include:

These books are all available now on ScienceDirect. Want your own copy? Enter code STC320 when you order via the Elsevier store and save up to 30%

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