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Women Are As Ambitious As Men But Don’t Get the Same Support

July 7, 2010

I know it’s not a new study, but it bears repeating: female scientists often fail to reach the top because they get “significantly less encouragement and support from tenured researchers and department heads:”

The study, which analysed results from more than 6,500 UK scientists, found that women in research institutes have higher career aspirations than men. But when it comes to applying for group leader and senior management positions, women get significantly less encouragement and support from tenured researchers and department heads, the authors said on 18 February.

The research was carried out by the Athena Project, a government-sponsored scheme designed to advance women’s careers in science, and the University of East Anglia in Norwich.

“The sad fact is that those further down the scale are still not rising to more senior positions with the same frequency as men, despite a clear desire to do so,” says Caroline Fox, Athena’s programme manager.

I read the excerpt in the February 24, 2005 Vol. 433 Nature article, but it’s a concept that’s worth bringing up again considering I have recently profiled the case concepts of men not listening to women with disastrous results:  from police ignoring rape complaints in NY and other states, to the Michigan Licensing Board’s dismissal of women’s complaints of doctor misconduct, to pregnant women being forcibly raped by their OB/GYN’s, and now we can add the paycheck cut to the list.

For a while, people assumed women just weren’t as ambitious or driven as men, because women didn’t make it to the top faculty positions.  Now we know that women don’t lack the drive, but the support.  Perhaps we can apply this to the areas of assault too:  women don’t lack the facts, they lack the support to act on them…

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