A new study on gender differences in science, technology, engineering and math publishing says that men and women publish at a comparable annual rate and make similar impacts during their active careers. But publishing career lengths and “dropout rates” -- how many women leave the field, relative to men -- explain much of the documented gender gap in productivity and impact. “This comprehensive picture of gender inequality in academia can help rephrase the conversation around the sustainability of women’s careers in academia, with important consequences for institutions and policy makers,” wrote lead author Junming Huang, now a postdoctoral research associate at Princeton University, and his network analysis colleagues at Northeastern University and the University of Copenhagen.
The study involved a look at the publication history of 1.5 million authors, spanning 83 countries and 13 fields, whose publishing careers ended between 1955 and 2010. It notes that the increase in participation by women in science over 60 years actually saw an increase in gender differences in productivity and impact. Read it in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.