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The Falling Curtain

A contributing factor to the leaky pipeline of women leaving the science, technology, engineering, and mathematics career path is bias, writes The American Prospect.

Indeed, a recent PNAS article from Yale University researchers found that faculty members, when reviewing applications for a lab manger position, judged the one with a male name as more competent than the same application with a female name appended to it.

"These are the biases that everyone holds," Fatima Goss Graves, vice president for education and employment at the National Women's Law Center, tells the Prospect. She adds that such biases "disadvantage the female students. Already, in some cases, they're taking a leap of faith in going into a field in which they're making up a small percentage."

The Prospect notes that the main challenge is getting people to realize that they hold such biases and then to try to deal with them. "Members of science fields tend to pride themselves on objectivity and their dedication to meritocracy, something that for years has helped perpetuate the myth that if women were really as good as their male colleagues, they would have risen to the top of the field on the merits of their work," it says.

A New York-based technology manager tells the Prospect that the idea of a meritocracy is a lie. "I genuinely believed that you could test for technical skills and show in a real black-and-white way whether [an applicant could] succeed," the manager says. "One day the curtain fell from my eyes."

The Scan

Lung Cancer Response to Checkpoint Inhibitors Reflected in Circulating Tumor DNA

In non-small cell lung cancer patients, researchers find in JCO Precision Oncology that survival benefits after immune checkpoint blockade coincide with a dip in ctDNA levels.

Study Reviews Family, Provider Responses to Rapid Whole-Genome Sequencing Follow-up

Investigators identified in the European Journal of Human Genetics variable follow-up practices after rapid whole-genome sequencing.

BMI-Related Variants Show Age-Related Stability in UK Biobank Participants

Researchers followed body mass index variant stability with genomic structural equation modeling and genome-wide association studies of 40- to 72-year olds in PLOS Genetics.

Genome Sequences Reveal Range Mutations in Induced Pluripotent Stem Cells

Researchers in Nature Genetics detect somatic mutation variation across iPSCs generated from blood or skin fibroblast cell sources, along with selection for BCOR gene mutations.