A new report conducted by Professional Scientists Australia has shed light on statistics that paint a frankly horrifying picture of inequality in science. And we need to talk about it. In fact, everyone should be talking about it.
These are women that have the potential to make life-changing and life-saving discoveries, whether that be in medicine, slowing global warming or protecting wildly important eco habitats. But it seems that they are being stunted in their ability to grow and change the world due to three major areas.
Female scientists received just 82.9 per cent of the remuneration received by their male counterparts. That’s a 17.1 per cent gender pay gap - well above the national average of 13.9 per cent. Beyond that, 27 per cent of female scientists had also not received a pay increase in the last year, meaning pay growth was also behind schedule for these workers.
For those who prefer to be shocked in dollars rather than percentages, this works out to around $21,000 less in the pockets of women doing exactly the same job as their male colleagues - who are getting pay rises on top of that and further increasing the gender pay gap.
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Secondly, gender discrimination.
40.9 per cent of female scientists have experience gender bias or have been discriminated on the basis of their sex in the workplace over the past three years. This could mean undermining their authority in meetings, stunting their professional development due to gender stereotyping and straight-up exclusion and bullying due to no other reason than them being a woman.
Thirdly, sexual harassment.
One in five women have experienced sexual harassment at least once in their scientific careers. This is a hideous statistic, and one that we hope to never see. But it’s real, and it’s happening, and people need to know about it.
Funnily enough, the combination of all three of these factors are pushing female scientists out of the industry. The same report from Professional Scientists Australia claims that one in five female scientists were planning on leaving the workforce and bailing on science altogether.