Skip to main content
Premium Trial:

Request an Annual Quote

Study of Funding, Race, and Gender

A new study suggests that the lower funding rate seen among women of color is more due to their race than to their gender, BuzzFeed News reports. It adds that this finding is surprising, as women of color had previously been found to be in a "double bind" in the sciences — that they were at a double disadvantage because of both their race and their gender.

A University of Kansas-led trio of researchers examined gender differences and race/ethnicity-specific gender differences among researchers awarded an R01 grant from the US National Institutes of Health between 2000 and 2006. As the team reports in Academic Medicine, it found that white women with PhDs or MDs were just as likely as white men to receive an R01, while Asian and black women with PhDs or MDs were less likely to receive an R01 than white women.

"If you see a difference in funding for women of color, it's a race effect, not the double bind of race combined with gender," UK's Donna Ginther tells BuzzFeed News. "That to me says that focusing on the issues associated with race, in this case with women of color, would do more to address this gap than focusing on gender."

It notes, though, that Ginther and her colleagues don't reject the double bind idea. For instance, they found that black women with MDs were less likely than black men with MDs to receive funding. In addition, black women with PhDs who submitted a grant application and were rejected were less likely to reapply.

Shirley Malcolm who described the double bind effect in the 1970s says that this study might have missed some of the effect as it focused on elite grants. "This is a highly selected group. So you can't say that there's not a gendered dimension to this whole discussion, because the women aren't even here," Malcolm, who is the head of education and human resources programs at the American Association for the Advancement of Science, adds.