The Motherhood Gap; June 2012; Scientific American Magazine; by Melinda Wenner Moyer; 1 Page(s)
Nearly half of all college math majors are women, and females now score as well as males on standardized math tests. Yet only about 30 percent of Ph.D.s in mathematics—and fewer in computer science, physics and engineering—are awarded to women every year, and men far outnumber women in science- and math-related tenure-track positions at U.S. universities. Why? For decades researchers have blamed sex discrimination and bias, but research suggests that there may now be a less sinister culprit: motherhood.
There is no arguing that women in science have had to fight sex discrimination for decades. But Wendy Williams and Stephen Ceci, a husband-and-wife team of psychologists at Cornell University, recently reviewed the literature on whether female scientists still have more trouble landing jobs, publishing papers or winning grants when compared with men. They found no evidence of lingering bias. “The problem is that women don’t apply for the jobs, not that they’re discriminated against once they apply,” explains Williams, who initially published the research in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences USA last year and wrote a follow-up article in the March/April issue of American Scientist.