The Right Kind Of Sexism And STEM

A conversation on sexism, especially with feminist participants is bound to take a misinformed detour. People with either limited information or with no information at all tend to flow with the emotional tide where they inevitably scream ‘sexism in STEM’. Little do they know that sexism in STEM is real but not the way they imagined.

Here we will steer clear of opinions and emotions and look at some demographic research.

Research Findings on Sexism in STEM

Coming to some hard and difficult-to-swallow facts. Psychologists Wendy M. Williams and Stephen J. Ceci are co-directors of the Cornell Institute for Women in Science. They working together for the past several years researching sexism in STEM. It was in 2015 that their new study got some amazing news.

Published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, it found that women are no longer at a disadvantage when applying for a tenure-track positions in university science departments. In fact, the study’s uproarious findings declared female candidates are now twice as likely to be chosen as equally qualified men.

Surveying 873 faculty members from 371 US schools, the experiments extensively asked evaluations to rank the profiles of fictional assistant professorship candidates in fields of biology, and engineering. In nearly every case, the female candidates were more likely to be ranked higher, regardless of their, lifestyle, area of expertise, and the evaluators’ field of research.

This means that the sexism against women that we are indoctrinated with does not exist. Not only it doesn’t exist, it is exactly the opposite case.

Sexism in calling out sexism

The right kind of sexism in STEM

If you care enough to look at the data you would find all sorts of discrepancies in prevalent beliefs. For instance, most men are engineers, and we are told that it is because of the patriarchal nature of our society. But the fact is that women even when given complete freedom of choice are less likely to take admission to an engineering college.

Now consider the field of medical science. As of 2022 most of the students graduating and becoming doctors are women. But that is celebrated as women’s empowerment.

Sexism is no joke unless it’s against men. Often it is observed that something that benefits men is considered the result of male-dominated patriarchy, and toxic masculinity. However, when something benefits women, even at the expense of men is considered empowerment.

In other worlds, there is prevalent sexism in calling out sexism.

Some more findings

“It is a propitious time for women launching careers in academic science”

The researchers
Hirability of identically qualified candidates with the same lifestyle.
  • Men actually favored men who took extended maternity leave over those who didn’t, at a ratio of 2 to 1. Conversely, women slightly preferred female candidates who didn’t take extended leave.
  • Female evaluators were also found to prefer divorced women over married fathers, and both men and women favored single women over men who have children.
  • Men dominated just two of the 15 job categories projected to grow the most over the next decade.
  • The gap between rich and poor is set to be eclipsed by the gap between males and females, in terms of university entrance.
  • Women outnumber men in 112 of 180 degree subjects.

Conclusion and Questions

Why do we obsess over one kind of sexism, yet ignore the other kind? Isn’t it sexist to stay focused on the sexism of one gender only? Most importantly, How long till we even acknowledge this reverse sexism? Shouldn’t the choice be factored in when we talk about inequality in STEM or any field for that matter?

Read More: The reality of Male Victims: The Darkroom overlooked by Media, Law, and Health Industry

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