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Bloomberg Law HR Buzz: AWIS’ New Membership Survey

Apr 26, 2019 | Media Mentions

Women, especially minority women, are underrepresented in leadership roles and often taken less seriously because of their gender or race. That’s the word from the Association of Women in Science, which says the problem is seen across all sectors.

AWIS released the preliminary results of a study, based on a survey of 125 of its women members, at its Innovation and Inclusion Summit April 24, 2019.

Eighty-three percent of respondents said they’d had their judgment questioned in their area of expertise; 82 percent said they had to work harder to get ahead; 72 percent have been assumed to be more junior than they are; and 70 percent said they’d had their accomplishments credited to others.

Women of color were 14 percent more likely than white women to be considered more junior, and 10 percent more likely to have their credit usurped, AWIS found.

Chief Research Officer Dr. Heather Metcalf said she wishes she could say she was surprised by the study results. “But this is what I study, and every time I give a presentation on my research I hear about all the different biases,” she said, adding: “The part of me that’s an idealist was disappointed but not surprised.”

AWIS also looked at data from other sources to see who’s getting ahead in STEM-related fields.

It found that 86 percent of people leading national labs are white men, with only 10 percent of directors being men of color, and white women bringing up the rear at 5 percent. No women of color are represented in the group. Meanwhile, women are underrepresented as CEOs of biotech IPOs as well. Six percent are white women, and just 2 percent are women of color.

Stay tuned for the full report by the end of May, according to Metcalf.

The group promises to have some recommendations on eliminating some of the barriers. AWIS advocates for women in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics.

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