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Unconscious Gender Bias in Academia: Scarcity of Empirical Evidence

Independent Scientist, 2860 Søborg, Denmark
Societies 2020, 10(2), 31;
Received: 11 November 2019 / Revised: 27 March 2020 / Accepted: 27 March 2020 / Published: 30 March 2020
Implicit or unconscious bias is commonly proposed to be responsible for women’s underrepresentation in academia. The aim of this scoping review was to identify and discuss the evidence supporting this proposition. Publications about unconscious/implicit gender bias in academia indexed in Scopus or psycInfo up to February 2020 were identified. More than half were published in the period 2018–2020. Studies reporting empirical data were scrutinized for data, as well as analyses showing an association of a measure of implicit or unconscious bias and lesser employment or career opportunities in academia for women than for men. No studies reported empirical evidence as thus defined. Reviews of unconscious bias identified via informal searches referred exclusively to studies that did not self-identify as addressing unconscious bias. Reinterpretations and misrepresentations of studies were common in these reviews. More empirical evidence about unconscious gender bias in academia is needed. With the present state of knowledge, caution should be exercised when interpreting data about gender gaps in academia. Ascribing observed gender gaps to unconscious bias is unsupported by the scientific literature. View Full-Text
Keywords: unconscious gender bias; implicit gender bias; academia; gender equality; gender equity unconscious gender bias; implicit gender bias; academia; gender equality; gender equity
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Skov, T. Unconscious Gender Bias in Academia: Scarcity of Empirical Evidence. Societies 2020, 10, 31.

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