In astronomy, women of color face the most discrimination

From Engadget - July 10, 2017

The study, published in the Journal of Geophysical Research, surveyed nearly 500 astronomers and planetary scientists between 2011 and 2015. 40 percent of women of color reported feeling unsafe in the workplace due to their gender or sex, while 28 percent of women of color felt unsafe due to their ethnicity. 18 percent of them skipped professional events due to a "hostile climate," with 12 percent of white women reporting the same. The study's authors point out that this results in a "significant loss of career opportunities."

This is not the first study into gender or racial bias in the sciences. The study's authors point out other papers that show a host of other examples in the literature, including gendered language on science curriculum, implicit bias related to gender and race in mentorship opportunities and an outsider experience that leads to women faculty of color having their views validated less often than their colleagues. The community of scientists still needs to figure out how to combat this bias, of course. For now, the current study's authors conclude that the results represent "a significant failure in the astronomical community to create safe working conditions for all scientists."


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