Equitable gender representation is an important aspect of scientific workforce development to secure a sufficient number of individuals and a diversity of perspectives. Biology is the most gender equitable of all scientific fields by the marker of degree attainment, with 52.5% of PhDs awarded to women. However, equitable rates of degree completion do not translate into equitable attainment of faculty or postdoctoral positions, suggesting continued existence of gender inequalities. In a national cohort of 336 first-year PhD students in the biological sciences (i.e., microbiology, cellular biology, molecular biology, developmental biology, and genetics) from 53 research institutions, female participants logged significantly more research hours than males and were significantly more likely than males to attribute their work hours to the demands of their assigned projects over the course of the academic year. Despite this, males were 15% more likely to be listed as authors on published journal articles, indicating inequality in the ratio of time to credit. Given the cumulative advantage that accrues for students who publish early in their graduate careers and the central role that scholarly productivity plays in academic hiring decisions, these findings collectively point to a major potential source of persisting underrepresentation of women on university faculties in these fields.
© 2017 D. F. Feldon et al. CBE—Life Sciences Education © 2017 The American Society for Cell Biology. This article is distributed by The American Society for Cell Biology under license from the author(s). It is available to the public under an Attribution–Noncommercial–Share Alike 3.0 Unported Creative Commons License (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-sa/3.0).