Why Do Female Scientists Receive Less Funding?

Jeremy Farrar | The Independent | December 11, 2013

It's more than a simple case of gender bias

Yesterday in Stockholm, eight scientists received their Nobel prizes, for medicine, physics and chemistry. All of them are men. At the same time – and by complete coincidence – this newspaper ran a story 'Women scientists less likely to receive funding', based on a study published in the journal BMJ Open Access. The connection is not too difficult to make.

Gender inequality is an important and complex issue that we and other organisations across the scientific community, and indeed other sectors,  take very seriously. Differences in research funding between men and women is not a new issue, but the situation is a lot more complicated than the newspaper headlines made out.

Reporting the BMJ’s findings as "women scientists less likely to receive funding" merely serves to perpetuate the myth that women will be less successful than men as a given eventuality. In fact, our funding rates for women and men are comparable amongst the applications we receive. The reality is that we receive fewer applications from women, but this is a symptom of a much bigger problem and one that we are seeking to address.