Does Gender Bias Still Affect Women in Science?

Microbiol Mol Biol Rev. 2019 Jul 17;83(3):e00018-19. doi: 10.1128/MMBR.00018-19. Print 2019 Aug 21.


The percentage of women employed in professional scientific positions has been low but is increasing over time. The U.S. National Institutes of Health and the National Science Foundation have both implemented programs to improve women's participation in science, and many universities and companies have diversity and equity programs. While most faculty and scientists believe that they are fair and unbiased, numerous well-designed studies published in leading peer-reviewed journals show that gender bias in sciences and medicine is widespread and persistent today in both faculty and students. Recent studies show that gender bias affects student grading, professional hiring, mentoring, tenure, promotion, respect, grant proposal success, and pay. In addition, sexual harassment remains a significant barrier. Fortunately, several studies provide evidence that programs that raise conscious awareness of gender bias can improve equity in science, and there are a number of recommendations and strategies for improving the participation of women.

Keywords: STEM; bias; gender; medicine; science; women.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Faculty / standards*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Laboratory Personnel / standards
  • Male
  • Science / standards*
  • Sexism*
  • United States