Despite improvements, female scientists continue to face discrimination, unequal pay and funding disparities.

Women_in_ScienceFemale scientists have made steady gains in recent decades but they face persistent career challenges. US universities and colleges employ far more male scientists than female ones and men earn significantly more in science occupations.

As an aspiring engineer in the early 1970s, Lynne Kiorpes was easy to spot in her undergraduate classes. Among a sea of men, she and a handful of other women made easy targets for a particular professor at Northeastern University in Boston, Massachusetts. On the first day of class, “he looked around and said ‘I see women in the classroom. I don’t believe women have any business in engineering, and I’m going to personally see to it that you all fail’.”

He wasn’t bluffing. All but one of the women in the class ultimately left engineering; Kiorpes went on to major in psychology.

Such blatant sexism is almost unthinkable today, says Kiorpes, now a neuroscientist at New York University. But Kiorpes, who runs several mentoring programmes for female students and postdoctoral fellows, says that subtle bias persists at most universities. And it drives some women out of science careers.

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Source: Helen Shen | Nature | March 6, 2013
Image: Nature