The gender gap in citations and academic networks. This article examines this issue and it's possible sources quite thoroughly. I find it particularly interesting that out of three panels attended by the author, two were organised and composed exclusively by white males and one was organised by a woman and composed equally of both genders. This shows quite strikingly how powerful gender bias in academic networks really is (often unintentionally). I have also noticed that this isn't obvious to everybody. I have since asked my supervisors whether they think I should make an effort to address the gender citation gap in my own writing and, after some explanation of the problem, I am pleased to say they wholeheartedly encouraged me to do so.
Family needs and work requirements, or how many papers is a baby worth? The issue here is that female academics proportionally take out more time for family-related reasons (e.g. maternity leave, child-related sick leave) than male ones and this puts them at a disadvantage to achieve a similar number of publications as their male colleagues in their field relative to their career years. This article shines light on many of the issues that female academics are facing and is particularly close to my heart as I am hoping to start a family myself in the next 5 years while also pursueing a career as an academic. I have often heard from female colleagues how difficult it is to juggle kids and work, how it is often impossible to work long hours like many of their male counter-parts, under how much pressure they are to publish papers and how they are often overlooked for promotions for these very reasons. I am hopeful that this situation is improving as more and more work is done to ensure equal opportunities in academia and take into account potential differences in needs of both genders.
3 Outright disrespectful and misogynist behaviour. I think people need to make up their own mind about this case of a female scientist being called "whore" for her unwillingness to provide content for another blog for free (see also here), but I do believe that a male scientist in this same situation would not have been so crudely insulted by another male. Or as one of the blog's commenters put it:
"Meanwhile a man would be considered an altruistic philanthropist or savvy entreprenuer for the same actions."I have heard from other colleagues that women are more likely to keep occurences like the above quiet and consider them part of the struggles of having a successful career, which begs the question how big a role gender bias and sexism really plays. I in no way believe that sexism only happens in academia - I have seen too many, and been subjected to, such instances in various other industries myself. But I believe in gender equality and hope that society is on it's way there, both professionally as in private life, that this too is a phase which will pass. Education and awareness definitely play an important role here. So does being more vocal if you're ever being treated unfairly or disrespectful at work because of your gender. I for one want to be noisy about it in the future. Because what is unknown cannot be addressed.