News By/Courtesy: Athul Joseph | 28 Jun 2020 22:22pm IST

HIGHLIGHTS

  • Despite over half of all PhDs being awarded to women, the percentage of female tenured faculty hovers between 20% - 33% in the EU and US.
  • Studies consistently demonstrate that women are hampered in their careers by the unconscious biases of decision-makers.
  • Social scientists have confirmed that humans are unaware of their own prejudices and are seemingly incapable of making unbiased, merit-based decisions

Given the fact that colleges have recruited more women than men for many years and that a growing proportion of student bodies are made up of minorities, women of color remain an uncommon presence in academia, both in major universities and graduate institutions, such as medical schools. In academic positions such as lecturers, professors, and chairpersons, women of color constitute less than 20% of all female full-time faculties in educational settings. Across the medical sector, only 28 percent of the full-time faculty are women of color and just 11 percent of the overall full-time faculty across U.S. med schools. It is well known that, traditionally, women have failed to hold leadership positions in most industries. It is due to several factors, including a lack of mentoring and training and promotional incentives, as well as implicit and visible discrimination. Research indicates that men are more likely than women to oppose female leadership.

The Harvard Business Review article found that women physicians are more likely to be paid less, disrespected by colleagues, treated less professionally than men, and given fewer opportunities for career advancement. Researchers at the Harvard Business Review have cited structural problems that resulted in women suffering adverse consequences for having children. Perhaps most interestingly, according to the study, 40–50% of medical students reported having been sexually abused by a mentor or a peer, and the overwhelming majority of these students were women.

In the case of minority women, these obstacles are far more overwhelming, making it nearly impossible to achieve leadership positions. In 2019, there were 116 white men and 21 white women among internal medicine chairs across the country, but there were no Asian women, just one black woman, and two Hispanic women serving as chairs. A 2012 analysis of white and non-white women focus groups, published in the Journal of Organizational Change Management, found that while both groups confirmed the existence of a "glass ceiling" that prohibits upward career progression, non-white women reported this at higher levels. Furthermore, white women were more likely to say that other women helped them progress in their careers compared to non-white women. Factors related to home life and personal history of those participating in the focus groups also differentiated between white women and non-white women. Many non-white women were likely to encounter extreme poverty as children and were more likely to suffer financial deprivation or death as adults. Besides, some studies have found that women of color are more likely to feel alienated because there are too few of them in their respective fields, which can contribute to an impediment to social participation that is important for academic and personal success. In certain cases, this isolation is also the product of prejudice between patients and relatives, hostility against subordinates, microaggression, fear of stereotyping, and/or tokenism. In many cases, the promotion of one under-represented minority woman stops further progress because it is considered sufficient and the department does not recruit any others. These complex issues are deeply embedded in the institutional structures of our society. Unfortunately, instead of realizing their academic potential, many women of color have been blocked by barriers to racism and/or sexism, in some cases causing them to leave their respective fields altogether. Although there are many potential solutions, none of them can be actively pursued or implemented until all concerned recognize the seriousness of this important issue. We are still a long way from what is happening, but progress is slowly being made that may lead to lasting and meaningful reform.

THIS ARTICLE DOES NOT INTEND TO HURT THE SENTIMENTS OF ANY INDIVIDUAL, COMMUNITY, SECT, OR RELIGION ETCETERA. THIS ARTICLE IS BASED PURELY ON THE AUTHOR'S PERSONAL VIEWS AND OPINIONS IN THE EXERCISE OF THE FUNDAMENTAL RIGHT GUARANTEED UNDER ARTICLE 19(1)(A) AND OTHER RELATED LAWS BEING FORCE IN INDIA, FOR THE TIME BEING

Section Editor: Pushpit Singh | 28 Jun 2020 23:04pm IST


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