Wednesday, July 18, 2007

Gender gap in scientific publications

A surprising study in American sociological review has shown that over a two year period, man produced on average 33% more papers than woman. Over the length of the career that translated into almost double the number of papers. why should that be? An obvious factor is family life. Woman have more commitments when it comes to child rearing. However, in an interesting twist, the number of children a woman has had is a good predictor of her productivity. Perhaps it is a way to learn how to be efficient at multitasking, or perhaps taking care of hungry miserable dirty children is a lot like taking care of graduate students.

The authors go as far as saying "there are relatively more men with exceptional scientific ability than women" because men according to him have a wider skillset (i.e. thinkering, programming etc...). However, when it comes to quality of the publications, women get 20% more citations when compared to men with an equal number of publication. Woman also have a harder time getting started, possibly because of discrimination, and they particularly lag at the beginning of their careers.


Anonymous said...

It all comes down to the nunchuck skillz