You have /5 articles left.
Sign up for a free account or log in.

The number of female biomedical researchers is increasing and so is the share of grants they receive, according to a paper published in Nature Biotechnology last week.

However the majority of the money is awarded to senior female scientists, leaving their younger female peers with fewer opportunities to get big grants that could advance their careers as scientists.

“As the resources are increasingly flowing toward women, the disparity between senior men scientists and senior women scientists is closing,” said Chris Liu, co-author of the paper and associate professor of management at the University of Oregon, according to a press release from UO. “But the gap is persisting between junior men and women.”

The new research paper examined the distribution of 2.3 million grants the U.S. National Institutes of Health awarded to biomedical scientists between 1985 and 2017, according to the release. (Note: This paragraph has been corrected and revised to reflect that 2.3 million grants were examined in the research, not $2.3 million worth of grants.)

Although one data set shows that the percentage of women earning life sciences doctoral degrees steadily increased from roughly 30 percent in 1985 to 55 percent in 2020, another data set shows that over the past 30 years, the post-graduation gender gap hasn’t changed much: Women have about a 20 percent probability of holding a full-time tenured academic position in biomedicine, whereas men have a 40 percent probability.

“This is an important trend that has been overlooked,” Liu said in the press release. “To fully realize the benefits of diversity, it is important that disadvantaged groups achieve the academic freedom afforded by grant funding and tenure. Our study reveals a systemic issue that needs to be addressed for young women scientists to advance through the ranks and have the greatest possible impact on science and society.”