Women more likely to win awards if they are named after a woman

Women are more likely to be awarded prizes that bear a woman’s name or aren’t named after a person than winning prizes named after men, according to a new study reported June 1 in Nature

The study analyzed almost 9,000 award recipients dating back to the across 350 awards in the geological and cardiology fields as well as both U.K. and U.S. national body awards. 

It found that going back to the 1700s, women gained overall 15 percent of such awards, but that number dropped to 12 percent for awards that are named after men. Interestingly, for awards that are not named after anyone, the number of female recipients jumps to 24 percent and 47 percent of recipients of awards named after women are women too. 

Some of the researchers' data also shows that women seem to win more awards that are focussed on scientific service, mentoring or diversity as opposed to awards about hard scientific findings. 

"If there is an unconscious bias at play, either among nominators or the jury, women are likely to be disadvantaged when most awards are named after men," Johanna Stadmark, PhD, a geologist at Lund University in Sweden told Nature. "This is very important and useful data to have. Only with data [can we] make a case and start a change."

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