Clear evidence of gender bias found in academia

Updated: 2016-01-04 07:54

By Yu Ran in Shanghai(China Daily)

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Unequal treatment of male and female scholars has been discovered in an online survey by a group of Chinese professors.

The results showed that only 25 percent of 167 professors interviewed believe the gender ratio is balanced in their institutions, while 67 percent said the number of female professors is "quite low".

The survey received at least 1,600 responses from more than 40 academic institutions within two weeks in November.

Fifty-eight percent of female interviewees said they had experienced gender discrimination in their academic work. Sixty-five percent of them said they are unfairly treated in their daily lives, while 67 percent of male interviewees denied stereotyping in academic work. Eighty-two percent of the males said they didn't think they had discriminated against females in daily life.

Wang Liming, a professor at the Life Sciences Institute at Zhejiang University and one of the survey initiators, said, "Most female professionals feel they are being discriminated against, while very few males feel the same way.

"This means that the discrimination is not a fixed policy or standard, but involves social judgments," Wang said in an article published by Caixin.

Jiang Jun, a 44-year-old female associate professor and a physician at Wenzhou Medical University's Eye Hospital in Zhejiang province, said, "As female graduates probably need about four to five years to act as wives and mothers of one child - and now two children - certain hospitals refuse to recruit female graduates."

The survey found that 77 percent of female professors believe that if they had been born male, their academic careers would have developed further. Thirty-eight percent of male professors thought that if they had been born as females, this would have hindered their career paths.

Only 20 percent of females among the 1,075 students of both sexes interviewed said they would continue their academic careers, while 33 percent of the males said likewise.

Yan Ning, a 38-year-old female science professor at Tsinghua University School of Medicine, said in an article published on WeChat that more female PhD graduates are being forced to give up their high-pressure research jobs for marriage and to have children.

"I'm very sad that more of my excellent female students have left their areas of research due to a social stereotype that women are needed more to take care of their families," Yan said.

(China Daily 01/04/2016 page1)