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Sunday, January 12, 2014

Women in Science Receive Less Funding Than Men

Women in Science

A recent study done by the London Infectious Disease Research Network showed a huge disparity in the amount of grants awarded to men and women in the field of science. Between 1997 and 2010, only 21 percent of funding grants for research on infectious diseases in the UK were awarded to women.

In addition, during the same time period, women who did receive grants were awarded less grant money. Women received $800 million in grants compared to $2.9 billion awarded to men doing the same type of research. The discrepancy is affecting career development for women in science as well as the opportunity to progress in their work.

The problem stems from the lack of representation by women in the field of scientific research. Only about one third are women. In this career area, grants--whether they are from the government or private donors--is critical in order for researchers to move forward in their careers.

One head researcher in the study also pointed out that there is also a shortage of women in senior levels at colleges and universities and suggests there might be a link between the two. In order to increase the number of women receiving research grants, there needs to be more female professors at universities who can support women who want to enter traditionally male-dominated fields of study. As Dr Sarah Main, director of the Campaign for Science and Engineering states, “The point where scientists are trying to win their own grant funding is a really critical stage. Unfortunately the statistics show there’s a big drop off in the numbers of women succeeding at that stage.”
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