Female scientists far less likely to win science research grants
Male applicants have a 17.7 percent chance of obtaining research funding for scientific studies in the Netherlands, while female applicants only have a 14.9 percent chance, according to a study conducted by psychologists Noami Ellemers and Romy van der Lee at the Netherlands Organisation for Scientific Research (NWO). Although women ask for 42 percent of available funding, female candidates only receive about 37 percent. Qualitatively, there was nothing wrong with the proposals, the research suggested. However, selection committees systematically denote difference between sexes and frequently evaluate the personal qualities of female candidates as lower than those of their male counterparts. "We know that there is a difference, despite our efforts," said a spokesman from NWO to the Volkskrant. "This study offers clues in order to do something about it." The analysis looked at 2,823 applications for the Veni Grant, seen as a crucial award for a candidate to eventually be named a full professor at a university. It was most difficult for women to receive funding for behavioural sciences, life sciences or medical sciences, even though there is a greater percentage of women competing for the limited amount of awards. This is not the case in other scientific fields. “The few women that are out there, are doing so remarkably well that they have the same opportunities as their male colleagues,” Dr. Van der Lee says. In response, selection committee chairmen and secretaries will be given anti-sexism courses. The aim of these courses will be to make all instruction and invitation gender neutral. According to the study, the NWO’s instructions and forms are full of "gendered" language. Researcher Van der Lee has says that it makes no sense to simply appoint more women to evaluation committees as around one third of existing committee members are women. A cursory investigation also points out that the number of women had no effect on the outcome.