Female researchers paid 14 percent less than men

London, Feb 21 (IANS) Focusing on “equal work and equal pay”, a new research calls for actions to ensure equal wages for equally-performing or -skilled scientists, especially females who earn about 14 percent less than their male peers.

The study, which collected data of 9,692 inventors from 23 countries, emphasised on encouraging female students to engage in scientific studies, as females represent only 4.2 percent of inventors.

Women are significantly under-represented among inventors, and those who succeed as inventors earn less than their male peers, said Myriam Mariani from Bocconi University in Milan, Italy.

The results showed significantly lower wage for women even after taking into account possible differences in jobs, potential parenthood, and other characteristics that might differ or remain similar on an average between male and female inventors.

Most importantly, the difference in earnings persists in spite of the fact that the quality of research of females does not differ from that of males.

The relationship between having children and income is negative but is not statistically different for males and females. Still, females earn less than males.

One reason for the relatively less women in inventive jobs is because women recognise the lower return they would earn from becoming an inventor, Mariani rued.

Furthermore, they may anticipate the potentially negative impact of having children, causing them to refrain from choosing careers in research and development or to drop out early, she added.

To equip women with the skills and competences required to pursue inventive jobs, government action is required to create mechanisms for ensuring equal wages for equally performing or skilled employees, the authors suggested.

In addition, to stimulate science and engineering enrolment by women, teachers and policy makers need to encourage female students to engage in scientific studies.

School administrators can also provide information to families about the importance of early (scientific) learning and socialization processes that influence children’s preferences for science.

The article will be published in the forthcoming issue of the journal Management Science.

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