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Study: Women are underrepresented in Nobel Prize

Published fredag 9 december 2016 kl 11.42
Researcher: This issue comes up every year around this time
(2:15 min)
This year's Nobel Laureates in physics, chemistry, and economics.
This year's Nobel Laureates in physics, chemistry, and economics. Credit: Henrik Montgomery/TT

On Saturday, December 10, the Nobel Laureates will be awarded their prizes by the King of Sweden. This year is the 79th time that no women are among the winners.

A research study by Swedish Radio found that women are underrepresented in three of the four scientific Nobel Prizes – physics, chemistry, economics, and medicine. Eric Weber is one of the researchers and he spoke to Radio Sweden about what motivated this project.

“We were interested because it feels like this is an issue that comes up every year during this time,” he said.

Results found that there is significant under-representation of women in the fields of physics, chemistry, and economics. One exception was in the field of medicine, where women were actually over-represented as Nobel Laureates.

The study looked at the percentage of women who were among the most prominent researchers in their respective fields based on the number of citations credited from 1981 to 2014 and compared that to the percentage of women who have won a Nobel Prize.

Weber spoke about the reactions that women in these areas had to the findings, specifically those from Pernilla Wittung Stafshede, Professor and Head of Department of Chemical Biology at Chalmers University

“She did not find the results strange. She thought that the same problems that you see throughout academia, you would probably see in the Nobel Prize too,” he said.


Our journalism is based on credibility and impartiality. Swedish Radio is independent and not affiliated to any political, religious, financial, public or private interests.
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