A recent post on the Oncofertility Consortium Blog discussed gender disparities in the senior levels of scientific research. Women receive 56% of science and engineering undergraduate degrees and are awarded more than 40% of graduate degrees in the sciences, often a PhD. However, they make up only 22% of senior academic faculty members in the United States.

The Journal Nature may have come across another reason for the gender gap in science. Salary differences. Nature just released the results of their first-ever salary and career survey of more than 10,000 scientists. In addition to examining salaries across countries, academic stages, and industry, the study also looked across genders.

The report found that female scientists begin their post-graduate careers making slightly more than male scientists, about $45,000 per year in the United States. However, 5 years after receiving their highest degree, when scientists generally begin their first academic appointments, male scientists start to outpace females. As time progresses, this trend continues so that 16 or more years past degree completion, men make about $120,000 while female scientists hover below $105,000.

It is important to note that similar salary trends occur in both North America and Europe. According to the study, “Men’s salaries were 18% to 40% higher than women’s in the countries for which we had significant sample sizes-Australia, Germany, Italy, Spain, the United Kingdom, India, Japan, Canada, and the United States.”

The exact cause of the scientific wage gap is unknown. However, in my previous career as a scientist, I personally saw women poorly negotiate for starting salaries, producing an initial wage difference that increased over time. In addition, some of my fellow female scientists either took time off from work to raise children or opted for more-flexible, lower-paying, non-tenured positions. In my case, which occurs with many women, I foresaw that my significant other would make more money the long-term and saw myself sacrificing my career for our future family. In my transition away from the bench, I have instead avoided the “sex, science, and salary” issue altogether but the scientific community needs to learn how to keep women in the sciences or risk future scientific and medical advances. The most obvious way to do that? Money.

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Kate is on loan from the Oncofertility Consortium. Check out their blog!

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Comments

It still amazes me that we haven't solved the family-friendly work environment issues, especially in academia. How often does an academic department hold a family picnic? It seems that some major corporations have done a better job at this.

It still amazes me that we haven’t solved the family-friendly work environment issues, especially in academia. How often does an academic department hold a family picnic? It seems that some major corporations have done a better job at this.

We need to address the root cause... How can we better prepare women to negotiate a better salary, for them selves and for the good of all professional women.

I do not think its fair that women with the same degree a man has can be paid almost 15 grand less per year. When will there be true equality?

Don't forget that the female candidates probably started a family somewhere along the line which meant new conditions that would influence the work load possible and salary.

Maybe most women receive less salary than men because they're given less tasks than men. Companies may have anticipated that most women tend to focus less on their tasks because they tend to worry more on some things especially family matters. So companies give simple or lesser tasks to them.

i think there should be an equal treatment among men and women... there are also women who are capable than men. i like this post, very informative.. and cheers to all women!

Men seem to be paid better than women in most profssions.
It is a shame that only 22% of senior academic faculty members in the United States are women even though 40% of science graduates are women.
Men are more confident when it comes to self-promotion and negotiating a better salary. And what’s more they earn respect from their colleagues for doing so. Women on the other hand are branded as aggressive and even bitchy for demonstrating similar behaviour. But we are partly to blame too, because many women are simply not confident enough to promote themselves in such a way in the first plac

I'm not a feminist but I know women work harder and better than men, they are more efficient in their jobs, but, ¿where's the equality? I prefer to hire women because of what I just mentioned.

Women are not known for their risk taking ability. On the other hand, men do not hesitate to bargain for a better salary or compensation while women tend to get satisfied with what they are getting. This is also the reason why we see a lesser attrition rate among women in workplace than men.

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