by Dr John Barry
Many people today presume that women are discriminated against in the workplace in various ways. This is not surprising given the steady stream of information from the gender equality industry appearing to support this view. However the reality today is that gender equality schemes that promote women’s careers in science related jobs, and other fields, are the norm.
For example, when it started in the UK in 2005, Athena SWAN was concerned only with promoting the careers of women in science, technology and engineering careers (STE). It then went on to include mathematics (STEM), medicine (STEMM) and now covers the entire range of academic subjects, and is extending internationally. With this in mind it seems a bit harsh that “a senior scientist at CERN has been suspended after suggesting female physicists were given jobs based on their gender”.
The reality is that, at least in recent years, women have never had it so good when it comes to getting jobs in the STEM workplace. What is the evidence for this? Well, there is the excellent paper produced by Ceci and colleagues at Cornell University. Published in the highest ranking psychology journal that I know of (impact factor of 19.228), it is 67 pages exploring a whole range of questions about the position of women in academia – from explanations for innate abilities based on prenatal testosterone levels, to whether better male networks explain male’s higher rate of publication. They conclude that: “…invitations to interview for tenure-track positions in math-intensive fields—as well as actual employment offers—reveal that female PhD applicants fare at least as well as their male counterparts in math-intensive fields” (Ceci et al 2014, p.75). Just take a look at Table 1 (main picture above), and compare the percentage of women who applied for STEM jobs to the percentage who were offered the job.
There might be strongly voiced reasons as to why women should have schemes that promote their careers in STEM, but if we know that women’s careers are being put first because of their gender, then why suspend a man who points this out? It reminds me of The Clash lyric:
“You have the right to free speech, as long as you’re not dumb enough to actually try it”.
What kind of world have we created when people cannot state the obvious without being punished for it?
About the author
Dr John Barry is a Chartered Psychologist and co-founder of the Male Psychology Network and Male Psychology Section of the British Psychological Society.