All Scientists Are White Men, So Those Black And Latina Ladies Must Be Janitors

You know what you almost never see in a survey? A 100 percent agreement rate. It just doesn't happen, unless the sample size is like six ten-year-old boys and the question is "do you find fake fart noises amusing?" And even then you might get one outlier who insists that burps are way funnier. So this is probably significant:

[A] new report on women of color in science, technology, engineering and math, or STEM, found that 100 percent of the 60 scientists interviewed reported experiencing bias and discrimination.

So much so that African-American and Latina scientists said they were routinely mistaken for janitors. “I always amuse my friends with my janitor stories,” one black woman scientist said. “But it has happened, not only at weird hours.”

Well, surely that was just a teensy, rare percentage that was almost as mortifying for the person who made the mistake as it was for the minority women to whom it happened, right? Oh shit, data nerds, there's a chart, and it's not pretty:

Ah, well, at least that included "administrative staff," and isn't that a relief? We're just surprised that one of the rightwing blogs hasn't reported that these snooty, full-of-themselves lady scientists have such disdain for decent working folks.

The full report adds to the growing data on the challenges women in STEM fields face, and finds that the situation is especially bad for women of color, who frequently reported having to prove their competence again and again to male colleagues. The study had 500 online participants, and followed up with in-depth interviews of another 60 women of color. And it's about as depressing as you might expect. For instance, Black women reported more pressure to prove their competence (76.9%) than did Latinas (64.5%), Asian-Americans (63.6%) and white women (62.7%) -- a phenomenon the study calls "prove-it-again" bias. Also, black and latina women both reported that they had to be careful to avoid being seen as "angry." Can't imagine what would possibly make them angry in the first place.

Surprisingly, the study found that "The stereotype that Asians are good at science appears to help Asian-American women with students -- but not colleagues." While Asian women reported more "prove-it-again" bias from their colleagues than did white women, they also reported the least "prove-it-again" bias from students as compared to the other groups.

And another surprise: among women scientists from outside the US, women from India actually thought that gender discrimination was worse in labs and universities in the good old USA than in India. Women from Africa and Japan thought the situation was better here than at home.

And of course, both white and minority women in science and tech reported being relegated to what they called "office housework" -- filling in grant forms, planning meetings, and so on. And when they're successful in their careers, they're more likely to have that success attributed to luck than to brilliance or hard work. Or maybe they just should have gone to the local science museum to learn how to make makeup.

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You know that the low percentage of women in tech fields is pretty bad when definitely-not-a-progressive-or-feminist cartoonist Scott Adams writes a blog post admitting that he

can imagine woman having a similar distaste for spending lots of time around dudes like me in the tech industry. Doesn’t sound fun. So as long as the tech industry attracts lots of unpleasant men such as me, women can be expected to be rational and find more agreeable places to make money.

Now, obviously, there's a simple solution to all this: Women in STEM fields just need to stop complaining and calling attention to the fact that they're women, and start working harder. And maybe while they're finishing their grant applications, they could grab us a cup of coffee, okay hon?

[WaPo / Double Jeopardy? Gender Bias Against Women of Color in Science / Dilbert Blog]

Follow Doktor Zoom on Twitter and he will light a candle at the shrine of St. Ada Lovelace for you.

Doktor Zoom

Doktor Zoom's real name is Marty Kelley, and he lives in the wilds of Boise, Idaho. He is not a medical doctor, but does have a real PhD in Rhetoric. You should definitely donate some money to this little mommyblog where he has finally found acceptance and cat pictures. He is on maternity leave until 2033. Here is his Twitter, also. His quest to avoid prolixity is not going so great.


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