Despite barriers, women gain ground in U.S. scientific academies

By Nicholas Gerbis
Published: Thursday, January 26, 2023 - 4:57pm
Updated: Friday, January 27, 2023 - 8:01am
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Women and girls are widely underrepresented in the STEM fields — science, technology, engineering and mathematics — and studies show they face unequal access to pay, positions, publications and credit.

But new research suggests positive trends in one area of acknowledgment: acceptance into the American Academy of Arts and Sciences and the U.S. National Academy of Sciences (NAS).

The paper appears in PNAS, a peer-reviewed journal of the NAS.

It finds progress in the three fields studied: psychology, mathematics and economics — subject areas with good, poor and equal female representation, respectively.

Using citations and publications in prestigious journals as indicators of credentials, the authors found that female acceptance rates have not only grown since the 1960s, but that women today are three to 15 times more likely to achieve election than men with similar records.

Critics note those publications were likely harder for women to get.

The authors hypothesize the newfound partiality toward women may reflect a recognition of the higher barriers women face.

Science Gender