Tuesday, July 01, 2008

The RAISE Project

The RAISE project is a site sponsored by the Society for Women's Health Research, which is surveying awards to women in science, mathematics, engineering, social science and technology. From their press release:

The RAISE Project, a program of the Society for Women’s Health Research to increase recognition of women in science, technology, engineering and medicine through professional awards, has documented more than 1,000 awards and 20,000 recipients on its growing Web site, www.raiseproject.org. A resource for scientists and women’s advocates, the RAISE Project features a searchable database with information on application processes and award histories.

“The RAISE Project is an important tool for any woman scientist, researcher or academician,” said Phyllis Greenberger, president and CEO of the Society for Women’s Health Research, a Washington, D.C., based advocacy organization. “It provides easy access to information on awards and how to apply for them. Women receive fewer professional honors in part because they are less likely than men to nominate and promote themselves. This site can help them pursue the recognition they deserve.”
According to their data, which starts in 1981, while the percentage of STEM awards presented to women has been slowly increasing (see chart below), 32% of the awards in their database have less than 1% women recipients.
Their database can be searched either by name or by the award, and looks like it's a pretty useful tool. A question that I've been pondering is one that the database might help answer: do a relatively small number of top female scientists receive a disproportionately large number of awards as compared to male award winners? I'm not sure how the analysis should be done to take into account the much greater number of male scientists receiving awards (statistics was never my strong suit), but I'm sure it could be done.

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Society for Women's Health Research said...

Hi Peggy,

That's an interesting question about whether a handful of top women scientists dominate the awards given to women. As the data grows, we'll be able to explore that more, but there are indications that's partially true -- but it is also true for men.

Peggy said...

It makes sense that the best of the best - both women and men - would dominate the awards. I wonder, though, if it's in the next tier down that gender bias comes into play. In any case your database will definitely be useful in answering those kinds of questions.