An article published today in PLOS One uses NZ university data to show that female academics earn $400,000 less over their careers than their male counterparts, after adjusting for covariates. The results and their implications have featured prominently in NZ's major news outlets, including RNZ, Stuff, and the Herald. Audio from RNZ's Morning Report (short) and Nine to Noon (in depth) is also available.
The analysis separates out fields of academia, showing one of the largest gender gaps occurs in science. That gap will not close by 2070 under current conditions.
Expert commentary has been compiled by the Science Media Centre. Included in it are these comments by President Troy Baisden representing NZAS.
“Anyone who counts the number of men and women along the hallways of New Zealand’s research institutions or speaking at conferences, and compares their job titles, will tend to suspect we have lingering problems with gender equity. Yet, many remain blind to the issue, and assume we have a meritocracy.
“Institutions, including the New Zealand Association of Scientists, have already observed enough evidence in the science workforce to raise concerns about our problems with gender and other diversity issues. The study by Brower and James massively sharpens our view of the problem, and shows its lifetime impact. An extension of their powerful analysis shows that, with current settings compared, there will be little improvement in most areas of academia by 2070.
“Simply put, New Zealand’s academic and research hierarchy does not appear to be the meritocracy it claims to be. Those who start out ahead appear to stay ahead.
“The evidence for inequity in salaries and promotion provided in this work may also extend to the resources required to be successful in research. Further, gender is only the most easily quantified diversity and equity challenge. These results suggest that underrepresentation of Māori and Pasifika in academia also need action to correct inequity.
“Ultimately, these diversity issues matter because audiences and the public may dismiss evidence from research when they can’t see their own faces or stories represented among the experts speaking on an issue.”
Former NZAS President and "Science is Sexist" author Nicola Gaston also featured in commentary, and Stuff's coverage profiled former NZAS Councillor Natalie Plank.
Having these clear results added to the growing evidence and analysis on gender and equity issues should help us move toward solutions that fix this problem.
PS. For those interested in an academic perspective on the methods and data, the University of Auckland's Prof Thomas Lumley has weighed in with a StatsChat blog post.
The following has gone out as an NZAS Press Release.
The New Zealand Association of Scientists (NZAS) new President is Professor Troy Baisden, based at the University of Waikato.
Baisden says, “I’m the first recent NZAS President based outside Wellington or Auckland. By taking on this role, I can help represent the large number of scientists working out of regional centres, including those focused on primary production and environmental issues.”
“A large proportion of public research funds relate to primary production and environment, and the nexus between these issues is a matter of deep public interest. These areas will get some extra focus within NZAS’s main objectives, which are to support scientists, promote and communicate science, including sound science policy.”
“For years, NZAS has raised concerns that a lack of stable positions for scientists immediately after their PhDs undermines the science sector. The problem is most acute in research disciplines including agriculture and the environment where New Zealand careers require unique knowledge that takes years to build.”
“Our focus on supporting early career scientists intersects with our focus on diversity issues in science. There are widespread concerns that Māori and Pasifika are underrepresented, undermining the role of science in addressing equity and Treaty of Waitangi issues.”
NZAS will also continue to consider MBIE’s recent draft Research, Science and Innovation Strategy. Baisden worries that, “it doesn’t signal clear directions, particularly across environmental science and the primary sector. These areas differ from industrial and technological innovation, which dominate science policy internationally.”
“In addition, the draft Strategy’s focus on connections raises concerns that National Science Challenges are not achieving their intended level of connectedness and deserve more transparent review.”
The latest issue of NZSR is finished, and it's a double issue, volume 75 issues 2-3.
Members with print NZSR subscriptions can expect the hardcopy version to be on its way to you now, and all members can find the pdf version right now by logging in to your account.
Direct link to pdf.
Applications are invited for the 2019 Science Medals from the New Zealand Association of Scientists (NZAS). Full details of the application process can be found here.
Applications are due in by 31 July 2019.
© 2018 NZAS | Disclaimer Sitemap