Disciplines That Expect ‘Brilliance’ Tend to Punish Women

Here’s a downside to our cultural obsession with genius: It might be a reason for the gender gap in certain academic fields.

New research has found that women tend to be underrepresented in disciplines whose practitioners think innate talent or “brilliance” is required to succeed. According to the findings, that’s true across science, technology, engineering, and mathematics, the STEM fields; humanities; and the social sciences.

The research—led by Sarah-Jane Leslie, a philosophy professor at Princeton University, and Andrei Cimpian, an associate professor of psychology at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign—waspublished on Thursday in the journal Science.

Ms. Leslie and Mr. Cimpian surveyed more than 1,800 graduate students, professors, and postdoctoral fellows in 30 academic disciplines across the country. The survey included a series of statements and asked participants to rate the extent of their agreement with each one. The statements included: “Being a top scholar of [discipline] requires a special aptitude that just can’t be taught,” and “Even though it’s not politically correct to say it, men are often more suited than women to do high-level work in [discipline].” <Read more.>

Via Madeline Will, The Chronicle of Higher Education.

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