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Journal of Women and Minorities in Science and Engineering

ISSN Print: 1072-8325
ISSN Online: 1940-431X

Journal of Women and Minorities in Science and Engineering

DOI: 10.1615/JWomenMinorScienEng.v11.i1.60
pages 97-116

DIFFERENCES IN MEN AND WOMEN SCIENTISTS' PERCEPTIONS OF WORKPLACE CLIMATE

Ramona Gunter
Department of Mathematics, UW-River Falls
Amy Stambach
University of Wisconsin-Madison

ABSTRACT

The climate of science is often described as "chilly" toward women and is blamed for women's underrepresentation and slow advancement within science fields. However, evidence of a chilly climate is often indirect. In this study of male and female science faculty members at a major research university, the authors found direct evidence for a chilly climate: A smaller percentage of women than men described their workplace environments in positive terms, and a larger percentage of women than men described uncomfortable, tense, or hostile interactions. Some men and many women said that gender bias might explain women's negative experiences; at the same time, these men and women stated that they could not say for certain that gender bias existed in their departments. Reasons for interviewees' difficulties in identifying and labeling gender bias are discussed.