Jacques Mairesse, Michele Pezzoni, Fabiana Visentin, 13 December 2020

The observation that few women reach the highest positions in science prompts the question of whether they are discriminated against. This column shows that at the French Institute of Physics at CNRS, one of Europe’s largest public research organisation, differences in research productivity account entirely for the average gender gap in the promotion from junior to senior positions. This finding does not contradict the observation that other promotion factors – such as family characteristics, mentoring, professional networks, and research responsibilities – have different impacts on female and male researchers.

Joyce He, Sonia Kang, Nicola Lacetera, 08 February 2020

Many work environments require their employees to apply for promotions, a process that results in fewer women opting to compete. This column presents evidence to suggest that changing promotion schemes to a default where everyone is considered but has the option to ‘opt out’ could help close the gender gap in applications to compete for promotions. 

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