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Sorry and Lets Move On? What do we do about this?

Megan Brown mbrown at fred
Tue Aug 19 14:16:08 EST 1997

Bharathi Jagadeesh (bjag at ln.nimh.nih.gov) wrote:
: I also have a somewhat amusing, but mostly frightening factoid:
: Does anyone else think that about 5% of women believe they're
: in the top 5%, but that about 60% of men do? 

I worry that if this is true (and I think I read a study which supports
this male/female attitude discrepancy) that more women than men will "get
realistic" about their careers and bail out of the research track then
men. Then we will be left with a disproportionate number of men left in
research science.

Just for fun I calculated what the male/female breakdown in applicant pool
(for a research faculty position) would be given these assumptions:

1. The number of males and females receiving Ph.D.s in Biological Sciences
is equal.

2. After a postdoc, all people believing themselves to be in the top 5%
apply for faculty positions (5% for women, 60% for men).

3. Of those believing themselves to not be in the top 5% (95% for women,
40% for men), only half decide to apply for faculty positions anyway, and
half decide to "bail out" of that career track.

Under these circumstances, what does the applicant pool look like? It
would contain 60% men and 40% women. Given assumption 2, I would believe
assumption 3 would be different, though. A greater proportion of women
than men would "bail," resulting in an even more skewed applicant pool.

OK, OK, that exercise was pointless, but I guess I'm putting off setting
up 24 PCR reactions.



Megan Brown
mbrown at fred.fhcrc.org
Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center
Seattle, Washington

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