Thursday, October 04, 2012

Sexism in Science (or Biology, Anyway...)

Holy crap.

The only difference in these grad school apps was the name--it was sometimes given a male name and sometimes a female name. The applications were given to 127 biology professors. Both male and female profs tended to rate the ones with male names higher on everything.

This is bad news indeed.

In the humanities, bogus charges of sexism fly around with such frequency that it's hard not to become afflicted by a blanket skepticism of them.

But this evidence seems pretty damn hard to explain away...

[Well, upon a moment's more thought, it might be possible to explain something here away, though it won't help much. It may be a kind of weak inference on the part of the professors. Surrounded by mostly male biologists, one might come to think that males make better biologists via some kind of abduction or something. This would still result in a kind of sexism, but not the worst kind--that is, not some wet-wired, inveterate sexism. This kind could be remedied just by achieving a better sex balance in the discipline (which we're working toward). Anyway, the worse possibility is that it's something wetwired into us. I'm skeptical about that. Though if we're wetwired to respect tall, strong, deep-voiced people, such sexism could be an effect of that.]


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