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Gender and the language of science – the example of language in research proposals

Gender and the language of science – the example of language in research proposals

Studies time and again confirm the disadvantage of women in science. While women currently form the majority of university graduates, their share among young researchers decreases with each career step between doctoral thesis and professorship across disciplines. One explanation for this so-called “cooling out” of female researchers is seen in the on average lower proportion of successfully acquired third party funding by women. A relatively recent study has shown, however, that the written language in evaluations has a potential impact on the assessment of research proposals. The research project expands this perspective and analyzes the language use of researchers submitting proposals. This is due to several reasons. On the one hand, the proportion of successful female applicants remains the same, even if indications on gender are eliminated (see EMBO fellowships).  On the other hand, female researchers tend to view their own competencies more critically than their male counterparts. Against this background the research project analyzes whether these differences are reflected in the use of written language. The study focuses on research proposals from a highly competitive line of research, since it can be expected that gender-specific differences are more likely to be apparent in written language under these conditions.

Project Period:01.02.2018 - 31.01.2020
Project Lead:Prof. Dr. Eva Barlösius, Prof. Dr. Gabriele Diewald, PD Dr. Axel Philipps
Project Members:PD Dr. Axel Philipps, Zlata Liwschin
Student Assistants:Leonie Kratzenstein, Gianni Triantis, Leonie Weißenborn, Julia Weymann