Women, Work, and the Academy

Bell, Robin E.; Laird, Jennifer D.

Harvard University President Lawrence Summers triggered an avalanche of media coverage and debate about the status of women in science in a 14 January 2005 speech. When Summers posited that the persistent absence of women in science could be due to a lack of "intrinsic aptitude" and an unwillingness to pursue high-intensity academic careers, he placed the blame on women and minorities. Summers also made reference to economist Gary Becker, who developed the theory that market forces will eventually address any persistent discrimination because discrimination is costly and inefficient in a competitive market. These arguments are not supported by current research on implicit bias and organizational behavior.


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Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory
Marine Geology and Geophysics
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February 13, 2012