Image: Anthony Canamucio

I serve on the senior appointments and promotions committee (SAPC) of a medical school. Over the years, I've realized that male basic scientists, as a group, sail through the SAPC effortlessly. Many of these men work in fields that include probably 10 other individuals in the whole world, half of whom are their mentors, or former fellow graduate students or postdoctoral fellows. These are their peers, and we can readily obtain laudatory letters of recommendation from them, establishing that candidates have accomplished national and international recognition. This confederacy ensures their promotion.

In contrast, female candidacies provoke far more discussion, which often leaves me depressed and upset. The issue of women as faculty members, especially in basic sciences, is complex. I suspect that the problem reflects fundamental differences between the way women and men approach science as a microcosm of life. It is sad indeed that the most...

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