The question I’d like to talk about is gender differences in academia. Recent decades have experienced a great change in schools, higher education, and academia. Gender equality has become an important consideration in a lot of programs in universities. Indeed, women have enjoyed the positive outcomes of the fight for their rights in academia. More and more women got and are getting their success in different positions of higher education. However, gender inequality still exists in a subtle way.
Ecklund et al. (2012) examined the data from a survey and interviews of scientists at top graduate programs in US and found that gender is more salient than discipline in determining reasons scientists provide for gender disparities between disciplines. Further, these authors suggested that gender is the primary factor shaping the experiences of scientists regardless of their own gender. This study revealed a complicated mechanism underlying seemingly gender equality in academia. A lot of people may think nowadays women and men already have had the same opportunity to learn knowledge and develop professional abilities to obtain success in academia. However, when we look at the current situations in the academia, we could find that the cognition of concepts such as “science”, “engineering”, and “academia”, is still gender-marked. The stereotype of women is still incompatible with people’s understanding of science.
The reason for this phenomenon may be more than policies in recruiting female faculty in universities. Some social and cultural factors also contribute to this problem. As far as I am concerned, this is one thing needs to be improved. To solve the problem, we can not only address the issues about gender equality in higher education. We need to find the solutions in a wider range. However, we should start with higher education. Indeed, higher education is a pathway for people to recognize the problem.