French men love French women. So much so that given two equal candidates for a job, one male and one female, they are likely to score a female higher when it comes to being a science educator.
Claims of bias are rampant in the United States - women overwhelmingly dominate the social sciences, which men claim is bias, while men dominate the physical sciences, which women say is bias. Yet once women get into the private sector companies fall all over themselves to hire women, which means the problem may be just in academia. Female doctors are also not penalized for having families - unless they are at academic institutions.
To evaluate how knowledge of female underrepresentation in a field can shape skills assessment by an examine giver in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics, Thomas Breda and Mélina Hillion focused on the competitive exams used to recruit the majority of French secondary and postsecondary teachers and professors.
For the period from 2006 2013, Breda and Hillion compared results of written tests that were blind to gender with oral tests that were not, for about 100,000 applicants in 11 different fields (including non-STEM fields). Ultimately, they found that on both the higher-level exams (professorial and high-school teaching) and medium-level exams (secondary school teaching only), oral examiners graded females higher than males in fields that are more male-dominated. And, to a lesser extent, oral examiners graded males higher in fields more dominated by females.
For example, bias was 3 to 5 percentile ranks for men in literature and foreign languages, and about 10 percentile ranks for women in math, physics or philosophy, the researchers say.