Chris Blattman

If fixing gender imbalances in academia didn’t seem hard enough already…

We analyze how a larger presence of female evaluators affects committee decision-making using information on 100,000 applications to associate and full professorships in all academic disciplines in two countries, Italy and Spain.

These applications were assessed by 8,000 evaluators who were selected through a random draw. A larger number of women in evaluation committees does not increase either the quantity or the quality of female candidates who qualify. If anything, when evaluators’ are not familiar with candidates’ research area, gender-mixed committees tend to be less favorable towards female candidates than all-male committees, with the exception of evaluations to full professorships in Spain.

Data from 300,000 individual voting reports suggests that men become less favorable towards female candidates as soon as a woman joins the committee.

Article. You may be thinking, “oh Southern Europeans are not like us” but I am not so sure.

Then again, my colleague Bob Erikson finds that female judges on US appellate courts influence the votes of male judges to be more liberal on sex discrimination cases.

10 Responses

  1. Age is the lurking variable here.

    I am going to throw out the hypothesis that older women, who got into the field when sexism was more universal, are more likely to have ingrained sexist opinions *and* think “I did fine with worse stuff being thrown at me, why can’t she”. So putting older women on the committees may not help.

    Younger women who grew up in less sexist times may be more helpful… as may younger men.

  2. I think there was some evidence that women can be harder/tougher on women? Same result, different explanation…

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