There's a long pipeline towards tenure, which includes publication, hiring and dissertating along the way. The evidence of the gender gap in publications, by subject, is glaring according to JSTOR and the Chronicle of Higher Education.
These graphics and facts beg the question as to what combination of factors might cause this problem. And I'm quite sure that the gender bias in academic hiring is one of these factors. This research tested what I only hypothesized. Using a double-blind study to measure the effect of male or female names on judged competence, hireability and mentoring, the authors find that both male and female academic scientists rated women consistently lower. Keep in mind, this was based on the exact same application materials, the only difference was the gender of the applicant's name.
What is the source of this bias? I have a few untested hypotheses. I think women tend to be judged more harshly on their personalities, more than just strictly their professional work (although, this of course doesn't explain all the paper discrimination). And I think as much as we'd not like to admit it, implicit biases still linger in our social perceptions. Forbes has a few ideas about limiting negative stereotypes of successful women, as well. Overall, the fact that the gap is huge and that the bias empirically exists are reasons enough to critically question our opinions of candidates for academic positions. Or at least to start a discussion about pants suits.
Hat tip: COC, NAJ,