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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

Booster Push

New data shows a decline in SARS-CoV-2 vaccine efficacy over time, which the New York Times says Pfizer is using to argue its case for a booster, even as the lower efficacy remains high.

With Help from Mr. Fluffington, PurrhD

Cats could make good study animals for genetic research, the University of Missouri's Leslie Lyons tells the Atlantic.

Man Charged With Threatening to Harm Fauci, Collins

The Hill reports that Thomas Patrick Connally, Jr., was charged with making threats against federal officials.

Nature Papers Present Approach to Find Natural Products, Method to ID Cancer Driver Mutations, More

In Nature this week: combination of cryogenic electron microscopy with genome mining helps uncover natural products, driver mutations in cancer, and more.