Over the last two decades, women have made inroads into the male-dominated fields of science, technology, engineering, and medicine. But you wouldn't know it if you asked the men who tend to chair scientific awards committees, who award research-based science awards to men 95% of the time. If a glass ceiling breaks and no one is around to notice, is it really broken?
The depressing statistic is brought to you by a 20-year survey of awards given out by 13 different STEM societies. Researchers found that even though awards given to female scientists increased 78% between 1991 and 2010, most of those awards were given in the areas of teaching or service. The "hard science" awards were still given to men, and they were especially given to men if the chair of the awards committee was also a man.
It's not that women weren't being nominated for scientific awards, either; researchers concluded that the frequency with which they actually won wasn't consistent with the frequency with which they were nominated for awards. So this isn't a case of Ladies Be Hating The Science.
These and other findings regarding bias in the selection of scientific awards will be published in the journal Social Studies of Science (published by SAGE) this month.
Read it if you want to feel frustrated about something.