File Name: perceptions and beliefs regarding men in elementary and early childhood education .zip
Jean Piaget's theory of cognitive development suggests that children move through four different stages of mental development. His theory focuses not only on understanding how children acquire knowledge, but also on understanding the nature of intelligence. As kids interact with the world around them, they continually add new knowledge, build upon existing knowledge, and adapt previously held ideas to accommodate new information. Piaget was born in Switzerland in the late s and was a precocious student, publishing his first scientific paper when he was just 11 years old. His early exposure to the intellectual development of children came when he worked as an assistant to Alfred Binet and Theodore Simon as they worked to standardize their famous IQ test.
There is extensive evidence of gender inequality in research leading to insufficient representation of women in leadership positions. Numbers revealing a gender gap in research are periodically reported by national and international institutions but data on perceptions of gender equality within the research community are scarce.
Consistent with the original UK-based study, women in research perceived a greater degree of gender inequality than men. This difference was consistent from junior to senior positions, within public and private universities as well as research centres, and across all research disciplines. When responses were compared with the existing UK-based questionnaire, researchers in Spain felt that women and men are treated more equally in the workplace, yet they perceived their home departments to be less supportive regarding matters of gender equality.
The results of this study provide clear evidence that men and women do not share the same perceptions of gender equality in science and that their differing perceptions are relatively consistent across two major European countries. The fact that men occupy the majority of senior positions while not perceiving the same inequality as women do, may be critical when it comes to ensuring the fair ascent of women to senior positions in an academic system.
These data encourage the implementation of measures to ensure that both men and women are aware of gender biases in research.
This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License , which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited.
Data Availability: All relevant data are within the paper and its Supporting Information files. Competing interests: The authors have declared that no competing interests exist. This gender gap is more noticeable at the senior level, with a lower representation of women in leadership positions and consequently in decision- and policy-making.
In the Spanish academic system, the representation of women is nearly identical to that of the rest of the EU Women are perceived as worse scientific leaders [ 5 , 6 ] and are stereotyped as not possessing the innate talent that is required in some fields [ 7 ]. These and other gender stereotypes may explain why women receive similar levels of research funding when they are judged on the quality of their research but less funding when judged on the excellence of the researcher [ 8 ], are less frequently invited to conferences [ 9 , 10 ], are less likely to be selected for scientific awards [ 11 , 12 ], are less represented on editorial boards [ 13 ], their work is less likely to be cited [ 14 ], they have less chances of being invited to participate in peer review [ 14 , 15 ], and they have a more restricted access to influential networks [ 16 ].
In , Handley et al reported that men do not recognise the presence of gender bias in research to the same extent as women: when men and women were asked to read an abstract from a study reporting gender bias in research, men tended to evaluate this study less favourable, suggesting reluctance of men to acknowledge gender bias. The gender difference was more prominent among academics working in science, technology, engineering and mathematics STEM [ 17 ].
A lack of understanding of these issues, especially at the senior level, will likely result in fewer measures put in place to tackle them.
It is therefore necessary to understand how gender biases are perceived by researchers in their workplace, and, importantly, whether gender, seniority, research area and type of institution influence these perceptions. On average, men felt that the department where they worked was more committed to gender equality than women did.
In Spain, while public organisations such as the Spanish Research Council CSIC and the Women and Science Unit of the Spanish Ministry of Science, Innovation and Universities publish periodic reports of statistics regarding women in research [ 3 , 19 , 22 ], to the best of our knowledge, there has not been a formal assessment of perceptions on gender equality. Moreover, policies to encourage and recognise commitment to advancing the careers of women have not yet being implemented systematically, in contrast to the UK, where charters such as Athena SWAN Scientific Women's Academic Network [ 23 ] have been active for more than ten years.
The present study seeks to understand gender perceptions and experiences among researchers in Spanish academic institutions, and to compare these with the perceptions of researchers working in their British counterparts. A questionnaire with items adapted from the ASSET [ 20 ] S1 Table was distributed among researchers working in both public and private universities and public research institutes in Spain [ 24 ].
Our findings largely agree with those obtained from respondents in the UK, while highlighting differences in how researchers in Spain perceive less institutional support for gender-related issues. Of these, we analysed the data provided by 2, respondents that were currently working in Spain and discarded the data from individuals that did not reach the end of the survey. To ensure that our sampling method did not introduce a non-response bias in our analyses, we compared responses from those that did not complete the survey with those that completed it and found no differences between them S2 Table for women and S3 Table for men.
For more details of the sample used in the study, see Table 1 and S1 Appendix. The data in this study were analyzed anonymously. Data were collected through the website surveymonkey. At the beginning of the survey, all participants were informed about the purpose of the questionnaire and the anonymisation of their data. Responses were obtained between 5 February and 4 May Participants were given the option of not responding at each question. We only included data from participants older than 21 years old.
The present report is part of a wider survey to explore the perceptions and experiences of gender equality of academics working in STEMM, as well as in the arts, humanities, social sciences, business and law AHSSBL in Spain.
The survey was circulated in English to ensure that the questions had the same meaning in both countries. In this study, only the responses relevant to the perception of gender biases were analysed. A description of the survey questions that were adapted from the ASSET survey and analysed in this study, their variable names and scales used is provided in S1 Table.
The measurement of gender equality in research is multidimensional. In this case, two dimensions of gender equality were explored: perceptions of gender equality in departments where respondents work and perceptions of gender equality in the allocation of tasks and resources. We performed Principal Component Analysis PCA to confirm that the two previously-described dimensions of gender equality are present in the Spanish research system.
Effect sizes were assessed using Cohen's d [ 26 ], where 0. Mean, standard deviation and sample sizes for male and female respondents in the UK were obtained from ASSET and t-tests were carried out separately to compare each question and gender group. To account for multiple testing when exploring group differences between men and women, a Bonferroni correction was applied based on 21 independent t-tests one for each question for the Spain based questionnaire and significance was declared at a threshold of 0.
For the comparison across countries, a Bonferroni correction was applied based on 38 independent t-tests 19 questions available in both countries stratified by male and female respondents.
In this case significance was declared at a threshold of 0. Analyses were undertaken using Minitab v. To assess how researchers working in Spain perceive gender equality, a survey adapted from the ASSET in the UK, was distributed among researchers working in Spanish universities and research centres. The survey was composed of two categories: perceptions of gender equality in departments and perceptions of gender equality in the allocation of tasks and resources. These results are in line with the ASSET survey structure, ensuring a reliable comparison between both countries see S2 Appendix in supporting information and S1 Fig for details on the psychometric analyses.
We then assessed the impact that gender, position, research area and type of institution may have on perceptions of gender equality in the Spanish academic system. In the first part of the survey, a total of six items were used to evaluate how participants perceived gender equality in their departments in terms of 1 leadership assessing how well women and men perceive women as leaders Fig 1A , 2 equality treatment assessing whether men and women are treated equally in their departments Fig 1B , and 3 promotion of gender equality investigating whether participants perceived that their departments have measures in place to promote gender equality Fig 1C.
Sample sizes for each question are detailed in S6 Table. The largest gender differences were observed when participants were asked about leadership perception Fig 1A. With an average of 6. For both men and women, item means ranged between 3. Overall, these results show that in the Spanish research system men have a more positive perception about their departments treatment and commitment to gender equality than women do.
Importantly, we found that women felt they are not valued as good leaders by men. To evaluate whether men and women perceive that the tasks and resources are equally allocated in their departments, 15 tasks and resources were assessed and stratified by: 1 allocation of markers of esteem Fig 2A , 2 allocation of professional development resources Fig 2B and allocation of academic duties 3 Fig 2C S7 Table. Gender differences in perceptions of gender equality in the allocation of tasks and resources related to A markers of esteem, B professional development and C additional professional duties.
See S4 Table for descriptive statistics and t-test results. Sample sizes for each question are detailed in S7 Table. Across all the items, the response distribution is markedly shifted between women and men.
The results above contrast with the findings in relation to the allocation of academic duties Fig 2C. Both women and men perceived that pastoral care roles, or the support provided for the well-being of students and trainees, are allocated more easily to women and no significant differences between genders were observed for this category S7 Table.
They also agreed that the allocation of teaching is more equally distributed Fig 2C and S7 Table. Altogether, gender differences were observed for the allocation of all the items referring to professional development and markers of esteem, where women perceived that these are more easily allocated to men while men did not perceive a biased distribution to the same extent. On the contrary, men and women perceived similarly that academic duties teaching, pastoral care roles and administrative tasks , which are tasks not directly related to research performance, are distributed more easily to women.
We next determined whether these gender differences may vary across research areas. Results from a two-way ANOVA for gender and research area suggested that overall women and men differences in gender perception were independent of the research discipline, as no gender-by-research area interaction was statistically significant S8 — S10 Tables.
Compared to other research areas, women working on law and earth sciences perceived the lowest gender equality regarding the treatment that men and women receive in their departments S2 Fig. Researchers in the areas of maths and physical sciences are the ones perceiving that pastoral care roles are more easily allocated to women, with mean scores for both women and men of around 2 i.
It is worth noting that law and earth sciences are the research areas with the lowest responses and larger samples are needed to reach further conclusions.
To investigate the effect of seniority on perceptions of gender equality, we created four groups of positions according to their experience level Table 1 : senior researcher, intermediate career researcher, early career researcher and research student.
Similar results were obtained when the interaction was done between age and gender S11 — 13 Tables. For all three items, junior researchers perceived more gender biases in the allocation of these resources than researchers in more advanced positions. We observed that perceptions of gender equality in departments and in the allocation of tasks and resources were consistent across research centres, private and public universities.
There were no significant main effects of type of centre, nor any interactions between gender and type of centre S14 — S16 Tables , suggesting that the previously-observed gender differences did not vary as a function of the institution where the respondents work. Overall, results from our survey and from the ASSET indicate that lower gender equality was perceived by women researchers working at both Spain and the UK.
When all the items from the category perceptions of gender equality in the allocation of tasks and resources were considered together, we found no significant differences between countries S17 Table. In contrast, when the six items for the category perceptions of gender equality in the department were jointly assessed, male and female researchers in the UK perceived greater gender equality than their counterparts in Spain. We then evaluated all the items individually and compared the responses from both surveys.
The largest differences were observed for items related to the support provided by the department and the allocation of teaching and pastoral tasks. Sample sizes for each question, country and gender are detailed in S17 Table. For perceptions of gender equality in the allocation of tasks and resources related to professional development, we observed that differences between Spain and the UK were driven almost exclusively by female respondents Fig 4.
Women working as researchers in Spain perceived to a greater extent that it is easier for a man to be allocated tasks and resources related to professional development such as receiving positive feedback, receipt of mentoring for career decisions, promotion to senior posts, recruitment for academic posts, attention from senior management or access to informal circles of influence Fig 4.
Interestingly, opposite directions in the gender effect were observed between countries for the allocation of administrative tasks and pastoral care roles Fig 5E—5F. Perceptions of gender equality in the allocation of tasks and resources in the Spanish and British academic systems: markers of esteem A-C and additional professional duties D-F. Despite reaching similar conclusions, both studies also highlight significant differences in gender perception among Spain and the UK.
Some of these disparities may arise from inherent characteristics existing between research systems, however it may also underline areas where more work is required to promote gender equality.
The present study is the first one assessing perception of gender equality and comparing it across two major European countries. It provides clear and significant evidence that men and women have a different understanding of the gender gap in academia regardless of the country, research area, junior or senior position and type of academic institution.
Our results show that women perceive greater gender inequality than men do and encourage the implementation of measures to increase awareness and address the problem.
Firstly, we evaluated perceptions of gender equality in a sample of 1, researchers working in academic positions in Spain. Estimates of gender equality were lower amongst women than men, with small to medium effect sizes, and the largest effect sizes being observed for items related to leadership. Despite the considerable body of objective scientific evidence, data from our survey shows that male researchers perceive equal gender treatment in their departments, equal access to the resources that are necessary for professional development or that can be viewed as markers of esteem and a stronger commitment from their departments to ensure gender equality.
Data from our survey suggests that gender inequalities previously reported in the Spanish research system [ 3 , 19 , 22 ] are perceived by women researchers in their daily life in their departments but not by men to the same extent. To ensure a fair ascent of women in the academic ladder and fair allocation of resources, it seems necessary that those who occupy senior positions, who are mostly men, have a fair perception of gender inequality. No significant interactions were observed between academic position or age and gender in our analyses, indicating that men and women of varying ages and seniority shared similar feelings regarding gender equality.
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There is extensive evidence of gender inequality in research leading to insufficient representation of women in leadership positions. Numbers revealing a gender gap in research are periodically reported by national and international institutions but data on perceptions of gender equality within the research community are scarce. Consistent with the original UK-based study, women in research perceived a greater degree of gender inequality than men.
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