The Scientific Men's Club

I serve on the senior appointments and promotions committee of a medical school. Over the years, I've come to recognize something that is as disturbing as it is undeniable: as a group, male basic scientists sail through the committee effortlessly. Many work in fields so specialized that they have only ten colleagues in the entire world, half of whom are their mentors or one-time fellow graduate students. These are their "peers," and they readily provide laudatory letters of recommendation establishing that the applicant has attained "national and international recognition." In contrast, applications by clinical faculty and women provoke far more discussion.