Women are being kept out of high-ranking positions in science, math and engineering in the United States, and a recent report released by the National Academies, which advises Congress, the federal government and a number of institutions, failed to find any significant reason for the bias, Reuters reports.
A group of experts considered all possible motivating factors including biological differences between males and females, duties associated with parenting, and personal motivation, among others, and found none to be a satisfactory explanation for the lack of women in high-level science and engineering positions, according to Reuters.
“Compared with men, women faculty members are generally paid less and promoted more slowly, receive fewer honors, and hold fewer leadership positions,” a statement from the Academies read, Reuters reports. “These discrepancies do not appear to be based on productivity, the significance of their work, or any other performance measures.”
The study found that females of minority descent face the worst discrimination, according to Reuters.
The panel of experts said that such discrimination is costing the United States many talented and skilled leaders and employees, and if it wishes to stay competitive in the fields of science and math in the future, some serious changes are called for, Reuters reports.
The research also found that the issue stems from a deep-rooted cultural bias that is part of American culture, according to Reuters.
“The underrepresentation of women and minorities in science and engineering faculties stems from a number of issues that are firmly rooted in our society’s traditions and culture,” the report reads, according to Reuters.
The report calls on university heads to make it a priority to alert staff and faculty, as well as students, to the issue and enact recruiting changes to help fix the problem, according to Reuters.
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