Men and women differ in their perception of gender bias in research institutions

Autoři: Judit García-González aff001;  Patricia Forcén aff001;  Maria Jimenez-Sanchez aff001
Působiště autorů: Wom = n Equity & Research Committee, Society of Spanish Researchers in the United Kingdom (SRUK/CERU), International House, 12 Constance Street, London, United Kingdom aff001;  School of Biological and Chemical Sciences, Queen Mary, University of London, London, United Kingdom aff002;  Department of Basic and Clinical Neuroscience, Maurice Wohl Clinical Neuroscience Institute, Institute of Psychiatry, Psychology & Neuroscience, King’s College London, London, United Kingdom aff003
Vyšlo v časopise: PLoS ONE 14(12)
Kategorie: Research Article


There is extensive evidence of gender inequality in research leading to insufficient representation of women in leadership positions. Numbers revealing a gender gap in research are periodically reported by national and international institutions but data on perceptions of gender equality within the research community are scarce. In the present study, a questionnaire based on the British Athena Survey of Science, Engineering and Technology (ASSET 2016) was distributed among researchers working in Spain. Consistent with the original UK-based study, women in research perceived a greater degree of gender inequality than men. This difference was consistent from junior to senior positions, within public and private universities as well as research centres, and across all research disciplines. When responses were compared with the existing UK-based questionnaire, researchers in Spain felt that women and men are treated more equally in the workplace, yet they perceived their home departments to be less supportive regarding matters of gender equality. The results of this study provide clear evidence that men and women do not share the same perceptions of gender equality in science and that their differing perceptions are relatively consistent across two major European countries. The fact that men occupy the majority of senior positions while not perceiving the same inequality as women do, may be critical when it comes to ensuring the fair ascent of women to senior positions in an academic system. These data encourage the implementation of measures to ensure that both men and women are aware of gender biases in research.

Klíčová slova:

Careers – Careers in research – Gender discrimination – Research assessment – Sexual and gender issues – Spain – Spanish people – Surveys


1. UNESCO, Schlegel F, editors. UNESCO science report: towards 2030. Paris: UNESCO Publ; 2015. 794 p. (UNESCO science report).

2. Europäische Kommission, editor. She figures 2015. Luxembourg: Publications Office of the European Union; 2016. 217 p.

3. ana.guillamon_378. Científicas en cifras 2015 [Internet]. FECYT. 2017 [cited 2018 Nov 17]. Available from:

4. van den Brink M, Benschop Y. Gender practices in the construction of academic excellence: Sheep with five legs. Organization. 2012 Jul 1;19(4):507–24.

5. Smyth FL, Nosek BA. On the gender-science stereotypes held by scientists: explicit accord with gender-ratios, implicit accord with scientific identity. Front Psychol. 2015;6:415. doi: 10.3389/fpsyg.2015.00415 25964765

6. Stereotypes About Gender and Science: Women ≠ Scientists—Linda L. Carli, Laila Alawa, YoonAh Lee, Bei Zhao, Elaine Kim, 2016 [Internet]. [cited 2019 Mar 16]. Available from:

7. Leslie S-J, Cimpian A, Meyer M, Freeland E. Expectations of brilliance underlie gender distributions across academic disciplines. Science. 2015 Jan 16;347(6219):262–5. doi: 10.1126/science.1261375 25593183

8. Witteman HO, Hendricks M, Straus S, Tannenbaum C. Are gender gaps due to evaluations of the applicant or the science? A natural experiment at a national funding agency. Lancet. 2019 09;393(10171):531–40.

9. Casadevall A, Handelsman J. The presence of female conveners correlates with a higher proportion of female speakers at scientific symposia. MBio. 2014 Jan 7;5(1):e00846–00813. doi: 10.1128/mBio.00846-13 24399856

10. Klein RS, Voskuhl R, Segal BM, Dittel BN, Lane TE, Bethea JR, et al. Speaking out about gender imbalance in invited speakers improves diversity. Nat Immunol. 2017 18;18(5):475–8.

11. Popejoy AB, Cadwalader EL, Herbers JM. Disproportionate Awards for Women in Disciplinary Societies. In: Gender Transformation in the Academy [Internet]. Emerald Group Publishing Limited; 2014 [cited 2019 Mar 16]. p. 243–63. (Advances in Gender Research; vol. 19). Available from:

12. Lincoln AE, Pincus SH, Leboy PS. Scholars’ awards go mainly to men. Nature. 2011 Jan 27;469(7331):472.

13. Cho AH, Johnson SA, Schuman CE, Adler JM, Gonzalez O, Graves SJ, et al. Women are underrepresented on the editorial boards of journals in environmental biology and natural resource management. PeerJ. 2014;2:e542. doi: 10.7717/peerj.542 25177537

14. Larivière V, Ni C, Gingras Y, Cronin B, Sugimoto CR. Bibliometrics: global gender disparities in science. Nature. 2013 Dec 12;504(7479):211–3. doi: 10.1038/504211a 24350369

15. Lerback J, Hanson B. Journals invite too few women to referee. Nature. 2017 25;541(7638):455–7. doi: 10.1038/541455a 28128272

16. Removing Barriers: Women in Academic Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics: NASPA Journal About Women in Higher Education: Vol 1, No 1 [Internet]. [cited 2019 Mar 16]. Available from:

17. Handley IM, Brown ER, Moss-Racusin CA, Smith JL. Quality of evidence revealing subtle gender biases in science is in the eye of the beholder. PNAS. 2015 Oct 27;112(43):13201–6. doi: 10.1073/pnas.1510649112 26460001

18. Ganley CM, George CE, Cimpian JR, Makowski MB. Gender Equity in College Majors: Looking Beyond the STEM/Non-STEM Dichotomy for Answers Regarding Female Participation. American Educational Research Journal. 2018 Jun 1;55(3):453–87.

19. Cientificas_cifras_2017.pdf [Internet]. [cited 2019 Mar 16]. Available from:

20. Equality Challenge Unit ASSET 2016—Equality Challenge Unit [Internet]. [cited 2018 Nov 17]. Available from:

21. Home [Internet]. Equality Challenge Unit. [cited 2019 Mar 16]. Available from:

22. informes CMYC— [Internet]. [cited 2018 Nov 17]. Available from:

23. Athena SWAN Charter [Internet]. Equality Challenge Unit. [cited 2019 Mar 16]. Available from:

24. Public Research Organizations [Internet]. EURAXESS. 2018 [cited 2019 Aug 10]. Available from:

25. Santos JRA. Cronbach’s Alpha: A Tool for Assessing the Reliability of Scales. Journal of Extension [Internet]. 1999 Apr [cited 2018 Dec 10];37(2). Available from:

26. Cohen J. A power primer. Psychol Bull. 1992 Jul;112(1):155–9. doi: 10.1037//0033-2909.112.1.155 19565683

27. O’Meara K, Stromquist NP. Faculty Peer Networks: Role and Relevance in Advancing Agency and Gender Equity. Gender and Education. 2015;27(3):338–58.

28. Helmer M, Schottdorf M, Neef A, Battaglia D. Gender bias in scholarly peer review. Elife. 2017 21;6.

29. Ceci SJ, Williams WM. Understanding current causes of women’s underrepresentation in science. Proc Natl Acad Sci USA. 2011 Feb 22;108(8):3157–62. doi: 10.1073/pnas.1014871108 21300892

30. Williams WM, Ceci SJ. National hiring experiments reveal 2:1 faculty preference for women on STEM tenure track. Proc Natl Acad Sci USA. 2015 Apr 28;112(17):5360–5. doi: 10.1073/pnas.1418878112 25870272

31. Barrett PS, Barrett LC. Promoting positive gender outcomes in higher education through active workload management [Internet]. Salford: University of Salford; 2013. Available from:

32. Caffrey L, Wyatt D, Fudge N, Mattingley H, Williamson C, McKevitt C. Gender equity programmes in academic medicine: a realist evaluation approach to Athena SWAN processes. BMJ Open. 2016 08;6(9):e012090.

33. Ovseiko PV, Chapple A, Edmunds LD, Ziebland S. Advancing gender equality through the Athena SWAN Charter for Women in Science: an exploratory study of women’s and men’s perceptions. Health Res Policy Syst. 2017 Feb 21;15(1):12. doi: 10.1186/s12961-017-0177-9 28222735

34. GENDER-NET analysis report: award schemes, gender equality and structural change [Internet]. Equality Challenge Unit. [cited 2019 Mar 16]. Available from:

35. kamraro. Promoting Gender Equality in Research and Innovation [Internet]. Horizon 2020—European Commission. 2014 [cited 2019 Mar 16]. Available from:

36. ADVANCE at a Glance | NSF—National Science Foundation [Internet]. [cited 2019 Mar 16]. Available from:

37. Koch AJ, D’Mello SD, Sackett PR. A meta-analysis of gender stereotypes and bias in experimental simulations of employment decision making. J Appl Psychol. 2015 Jan;100(1):128–61. doi: 10.1037/a0036734 24865576

38. Kray L. Gender Bias in Negotiators’ Ethical Decision Making. 2011 Mar 30 [cited 2019 Mar 16]; Available from:

39. Gender Politics and Public Policy Making: Prospects for Advancing Gender Equality—ScienceDirect [Internet]. [cited 2019 Mar 16]. Available from:

40. Aina OE, Cameron PA. Why Does Gender Matter? Counteracting Stereotypes with Young Children. Dimensions of Early Childhood. 2011;39(3):11–20.

41. Bezrukova K, Spell CS, Perry JL, Jehn KA. A meta-analytical integration of over 40 years of research on diversity training evaluation. Psychol Bull. 2016;142(11):1227–74. doi: 10.1037/bul0000067 27618543

42. Axt JR, Casola G, Nosek BA. Reducing Social Judgment Biases May Require Identifying the Potential Source of Bias. Pers Soc Psychol Bull. 2019 Aug;45(8):1232–51. doi: 10.1177/0146167218814003 30520340

43. Peterson DAM, Biederman LA, Andersen D, Ditonto TM, Roe K. Mitigating gender bias in student evaluations of teaching. PLoS ONE. 2019;14(5):e0216241. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0216241 31091292

44. Pritlove C, Juando-Prats C, Ala-Leppilampi K, Parsons JA. The good, the bad, and the ugly of implicit bias. Lancet. 2019 09;393(10171):502–4. doi: 10.1016/S0140-6736(18)32267-0 30739671

45. Chang EH, Milkman KL, Gromet DM, Rebele RW, Massey C, Duckworth AL, et al. The mixed effects of online diversity training. Proc Natl Acad Sci USA. 2019 Apr 16;116(16):7778–83. doi: 10.1073/pnas.1816076116 30936313

46. Coe IR, Wiley R, Bekker L-G. Organisational best practices towards gender equality in science and medicine. Lancet. 2019 09;393(10171):587–93. doi: 10.1016/S0140-6736(18)33188-X 30739694

Článek vyšel v časopise


2019 Číslo 12
Nejčtenější tento týden