Explicit gender bias

Explicit gender bias (or ‘old fashioned’ discrimination) implies that people think women are unable to show the same performance as men. Examples are statements conveying that women are less competitive or ambitious than men, or prioritize their family over work commitments. Legal regulations prevent (acting upon) of explicit gender bias, and people can file formal complaints when men and women are treated differently.

Implicit gender bias

Implicit gender bias (or ‘modern’ discrimination), implies that people are less likely to consider women when important tasks, jobs, or assignments are distributed. This can emerge in different ways. For instance, because the ideal image of a top scientist has more overlap with male than female charateristics, or because a man is more likely to be given the ‘benefit of doubt’, where a women has to offer more explicit evidence of her abilities. Implicit gender bias is perpetuated by formulating evaluation criteria in terms that more closely match the male stereotype than the female stereotype, or by providing images of men to illustrate success. It mostly happens unwittingly and  unintentionally, and is often hard to prove. Yet this damages the well-being, motivation and performance of those who are exposed to implicit bias.  

Relevant facts and statistics

Discussions about the possibility of gender bias in academic careers tend to be obscured by references to individual beliefs or convictions. As scientists, we strongly believe in the power of facts. Relevant statistics and research findings clearly illustrate the different realities faced by men and women in academic careers. With the links below we indicate where such information can be found.

  • Faniko Ellemers Derks
    September 13, 2020 Forms of bias

    Queen bees still exist in academia

    In a study among 800 academics, Naomi Ellemers and her colleagues found that female professors underestimate the career ambitions of their female PhD students. At the same time, they describe themselves as extremely masculine. Fifteen years ago, the…

  • Figure Unequal effects
    September 09, 2020 Impact of COVID-19

    Unequal effects of the COVID-19 pandemic on scientists

    A recently published study in Nature shows that during the pandemic, female scientists, especially those with young children, experienced a substantial decline in time devoted to research.

    Read more about the study here.

    Myers, K. R., Tham, W. Y., Yin, Y.,…

  • Kamn et al. Marine Sciences

    Steer towards gender equality in marine sciences

    A case study of two large externally funded marine sciences research alliances describes innovative activities to improve gender equality within the marine sciences.

    The activities developed can inspire new activities within other large projects in areas…

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