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Women in Science



Funk P. F.



Women in science are scarce. While in 2010, around half of all US professors were female in the field of psychology, this number is much lower when you go to hard sciences such as physics, engineering and math (Ceci et al, 2014). A similar picture emerges in Switzerland: in 2011, 26% of professors are female in Humanities and Social Sciences, whereas this share goes down to less than 10% in Exact and Natural Sciences. What are the implications of the scarcity of female professors, which is more extent in hard sciences? In the first part of this project (sub-project 1), I want to investigate the consequences of scarcity of female academics for the students, in terms of their performance. It is very well conceivable that female professors teach in a different way, or motivate female students (especially in gender-unbalanced faculties), and this affects performance of female and male students differently. If so, this may have important implications for public policy, and affect the hiring strategies of universities. In a second sub-project, I also want to explore one potential cause behind scarcity: discrimination of women. Clearly there are many potential explanations behind scarcity of females in academia (e.g. gender differences in competitiveness, Niederle and Vesterlund, 2011; Reuben et al., 2015, or gender differences in the allocation of time between work and family, Goldin, 2014). Yet, one abiding concern is that stereotype biases (Reuben et al., 2014; Bordalo et al., forthcoming; Bohren et al., forthcoming) or other forms of discrimination lead decision makers to undervalue the contributions of women. While discrimination is an inherently difficult task to measure, I apply a method developed in Card et al (2020b) to measure discrimination in the field of academic recognition. The goal will be to see whether in the disciplines, where females are scarce, women face hurdles for research recognition.

Additional information

Start date
End date
48 Months
Funding sources
Swiss National Science Foundation / Project Funding / Humanities and social sciences (Division I)