The first large-scale empirical analysis of the gender gap in science, showing how the structure of scientific labour and rewards – publications, citations, funding – systematically obstructs women's career advancement.
If current trends continue, women and men will be equally represented in the field of biology in 2069. In physics, math, and engineering, women should not expect to reach parity for more than a century. The gender gap in science and technology is narrowing but at a decidedly unimpressive pace. And even if parity is achievable, what about equity?
Equity for Women in Science, the first large-scale empirical analysis of the global gender gap in science, provides strong evidence that the structures of scientific production and reward impede women's career advancement. To make their case, Cassidy R. Sugimoto and Vincent Lariviere have conducted scientometric analyses using millions of published papers across disciplines. The data show that women are systematically denied the chief currencies of scientific credit: publications and citations. The rising tide of collaboration only exacerbates disparities, with women unlikely to land coveted leadership positions or gain access to global networks. The findings are unequivocal: when published, men are positioned as key contributors and women are relegated to low-visibility technical roles. The intersecting disparities in labour, reward, and resources contribute to cumulative disadvantages for the advancement of women in science.
Alongside their eye-opening analyses, Sugimoto and Larivière offer solutions. The data themselves point the way, showing where existing institutions fall short. A fair and equitable research ecosystem is possible, but the scientific community must first disrupt its own pervasive patterns of gatekeeping.
6. Scientific Impact
7. Social Institutions
8. Recommendations and Conclusions
Appendix: Materials and Methods
Cassidy R. Sugimoto is a Professor and Tom and Marie Patton School Chair in the School of Public Policy at the Georgia Institute of Technology. She is President of the International Society for Scientometrics and Informetrics and a past program director at the National Science Foundation.
Vincent Larivière is a Professor of Information Science at the Universite de Montreal, where he also serves as Associate Vice-President of Planning and Communications. He is the Scientific Director of the Erudit journal platform and Associate Scientific Director of the Observatoire des Sciences et des Technologies.
"The empirical analysis of disparities in funding, impact indicators, and institutional mobility provide rigorous evidence for the obstacles that continue to hamper women scientists. The result is a scathing indictment of scientific institutions' failure to promote gender equity."
– Publishers Weekly
"Equity for Women in Science succeeds in providing fresh insights into where women scientists' work is systematically devalued and underrecognized."
– Mary Blair-Loy, Science
"Are gender inequities slowly disappearing in the natural and social sciences? [...] Equity for Women in Science is a convincing reply to those who advance such arguments. Less overt – all but invisible – gender gaps are still with us [...] Besides copious amounts of data, the book provides revealing vignettes of the experiences of women in science, along with telling examples of institutional practices, both past and present."
– Virginia Valian, Nature
"With such extensive documentation of the gendered nature of scientific production, labour, and reward, Equity for Women in Science is important. It should be seen as a definitive account of trends to 2020, and can inform institutional priorities and action. It will be an instructive baseline to gauge the pandemic's impact on women's work in research and publishing and how it was valued and credited."
– Jocalyn Clark, The Lancet
"Details the many ways that scientists, policy-makers, funders of research and science communicators can help to close [the gender] gap."
– New Scientist
"This is the book I've always wanted. Full of statistics, anecdotes, and evidence-based suggestions that will transform the way the world understands the underrepresentation of women in science."
– Jess Wade, physicist and author of Nano: The Spectacular Science of the Very (Very) Small
"In this illuminating portrait of the place of women in science today, Sugimoto and Larivière combine rigorous quantitative analysis with vivid human stories to describe the hurdles still to be overcome if women are to achieve both parity and equity. A lively and informative read with a compelling agenda for change."
– Drew Gilpin Faust, President Emerita of Harvard University
"Taking a precise and elegant scientometric approach, Sugimoto and Larivière reveal the mechanisms gendering science production, labor, and reward. They bring to light the parity paradox, where equal numbers often do not result in equal credit, and show that the people most acclaimed for doing science ultimately determine how science is done."
– Londa Schiebinger, coeditor of Gendered Innovations 2
"Science is one of humankind's greatest achievements but it has a dispiriting legacy of male dominance. This rigorous and insightful book digs into the numbers to offer a comprehensive, up-to-date assessment of the manifold inequities that diminish the participation and recognition of women in science. With the data as their guide, Sugimoto and Larivière name the problem that has dogged science for far too long and map out a solution."
– Stephen Curry, Professor of Structural Biology, Imperial College London