Proving Gender-Discrimination In Science
The Salk Institute, in California, asked a judge to dismiss portions of the gender-discrimination lawsuits that were filed last July. Those lawsuits alleged that the institute is an “old boys club”, and that the women in question faced increasing pressure to downsize their laboratories, despite succeeding in bringing in research money. This follows news that Salk’s Cancer Scientist, Inder Verma, was placed on leave due to sexual harassment allegations.
Concerning the gender-discrimination lawsuits, the plaintiffs are urging the Salk to disclose information about how funds and laboratory space are allocated, as well as about complaints concerning sexual harassment and the unfair treatment of women.
Proving gender-discrimination requires demonstrating that opportunities have been denied due to gender. This is a difficult to thing to do under any circumstances, but becomes near impossible when information about salaries and the division of resources is confidential, as is the case with a private research institution such as the Salk.
Amy Maxmen, wrote a great article for nature.com breaking down why it’s hard to prove gender discrimination in science. A Highly recommended read!