Women Scientists’ Academic-Hiring Advantage Is Unwelcome News for Some, Part 4

This is Part 4 of a five-part response to critics of our recent study showing STEM faculty prefer to hire women over identically-qualified men (link). In previous responses, we described the main findings (link), and addressed various claims by critics (link and link). In what follows we address remaining claims by critics, starting with the assertion that we neglected important analyses.

We failed to report analyses

Some bloggers suggested our statistical analyses were improper: “When they analyzed their results, they seemingly did not control for the rank of the faculty respondents, which is crucial because more men hold senior-level positions and have more hiring power” (link). With rare exceptions, throughout our analyses, neither the faculty member’s rank, experience on search committees, gender, or discipline interacted with the pro-woman preference. Senior faculty were just as pro-female as were junior faculty.

Some critics challenged our use of gendered adjectives (e.g., female adjectives such as creative, socially-skilled vs. male adjectives such as analytic, powerhouse) to disguise the purpose of the experiments. They argued these could be responsible for the pro-woman preference. But because these adjectives were counterbalanced across gender of applicants as well as across gender of faculty respondents, they could not account for the overall pro-woman preference. Multiple colleagues emailed us, asking if the candidates described with male adjectives were preferred (it was always assumed that male adjectives would be preferred), or whether a gender congruity effect was found. Surprisingly, everyone’s assumption about the superiority of male adjectives was the opposite of what we found. Female adjectives were strongly preferred over male adjectives (a strong main effect, with no interaction)–even when used to describe male applicants. And when female applicants were described with female adjectives, 80.4% of faculty preferred to hire them over —> Read More