A Study Claimed Male Mentors Are More Helpful to Women Scientists—and It Did Not Go Over Well
The researchers suggested male mentors might help women’s careers more.
A scientific paper on the merits of women mentors has sparked a fierce debate, prompting the journal that published it to launch an investigation and the editor in chief to disavow the study’s conclusion that male mentorship might be more helpful.
The paper, published in Nature Communications journal this month, analyzed the relationship between older and younger scientists who co-publish studies. The researchers analyzed 222 million papers and found that co-publishing with an older female scientist led to a “reduction in post-mentorship impact of female protégés”—meaning, essentially, fewer future citations for the younger female scientist.
In their conclusion, the authors urge policy makers to revisit their mentorship programs and diversity policies, suggesting that female mentorships may be hurting—rather than helping—young women in the sciences.