The things you should know about the misrepresentation of women in science:
- Women are not equally represented in the scientific community, with 77% of employed research scientist being men.
- There is a significant bias towards women in terms of attribution in the scientific community. Among graduate students, female researchers have a 14.97% chance of getting an attribution, while for men it is higher at 21.47%.
- The best female scientists in the world are publishing their work predominantly in the field of medicine.
- The bias against acknowledging the achievements of women scientists whose work is attributed to their male colleagues is well-documented and is often called the Matilda Effect.
- The highest share of women employed in scientific research is in Central Asia at 48.5% and the lowest in South and West Asia at 23.1%
- The highest number of leading female scientists works in the United States, with UK ranking second, and Germany third.
On October 20, 2022, Research.com released the 2022 World Ranking of Female Scientists.
Research.com, a leading academic platform for researchers, prepared the ranking with the goal to inspire female scholars, women considering an academic career, as well as decision-makers worldwide with the example of successful women in the scientific community.
The platform also published an analysis of key findings about the best female scientists and the problem of misrepresentation of women in science.
Studies show, that relative to their male peers, women are less likely to be named on a patent or article, and their contributions are often unacknowledged. Among graduate students, female researchers have a 14.97% chance of getting an attribution, while for men it is higher at 21.47%. The authors of the ranking hope that it will contribute to providing more opportunities, visibility, and equal chances for women in science.
Women are not equally represented in the scientific community, with 77% of employed research scientist being men. The highest share of women employed in scientific research is in Central Asia at 48.5% and the lowest in South and West Asia at 23.1%
Such misrepresentation and bias against women, as observed by anthropologist, Dr. Treena Orchard from Western University, Canada, “reflects the deep gender inequities within the male-driven industry of science that has traditionally excluded and devalued the contributions of women.”
|Gender gaps in disciplines
The bias against acknowledging the achievements of women scientists whose work is attributed to their male colleagues is often referred to as the Matilda Effect, and studies show that the phenomenon still exists in the 21st century.
The best female scientist in the world is Professor JoAnn E. Manson from Harvard Medical School, known for her pioneering research in the fields of epidemiology and women’s health. Her h-index is 308, which also makes her the eighth-best scientist in the gender-agnostic global ranking.
The best female scientists in the world are predominantly publishing their work in the field of medicine, with 468 (46.8%) of ranked scholars having the majority of their publications in that area.
Other popular areas of research among female scholars are physics (10.4%), genetics and molecular biology (8.7%), and biology and biochemistry (8.2%).
In absolute values, female scientists working in the United States dominate the list with 623 scholars included in 2022 which represents 62.3% of the whole ranking. Eight out of 10 scientists in the top 1% are from the United States. The United Kingdom ranks second with 96 scientists. The third spot was taken by Germany, which currently has 42 scientists in the ranking.
When compared with a ranking of the top leading scientists without gender distinctions the top 6 countries are still the same. However, Japan makes a huge jump from just one scientist in the top females ranking to 16 in the gender-agnostic ranking (giving them the 9th spot in the world), suggesting a still predominantly male academic environment among the top scholars in that country.
Harvard University is the top institution with 40 female scientists included in the ranking. Following the top position is the National Institutes of Health with 34 scientists, with Stanford University occupying third place with 28 scientists.
The ranking was prepared by Research.com, a leading academic platform for researchers. The ranking is based on data collected from Microsoft Academic Graph. Position in the ranking is based on a scientist’s general H-index.