Are men or women more optimistic?

Are men more optimistic than women in research?

A German-American research team has made a surprising discovery that could partly explain the gender inequality in the highly competitive environment of research and science.

The fact is that women are not only in the minority in science and research, but are also paid less and receive fewer research subsidies than men. For a scientific career today it is essential to publish specialist articles. How often an article is cited, however, has a significant impact on the career and reputation of the author.

In a recently published study1, a research team analyzed millions of scientific articles with the help of a computer program that specifically searched for 25 positive terms such as “excellent”, “never been there” or “unique”. Results: In articles in which women are named first or last on the list of authors, the probability that the results are described with positive terms is 12% lower. In addition, the use of positive terms was associated with a 9.4% higher citation frequency.

While these data are certainly not the only justification for discriminating against women, they remind us that it is better to see the glass as half full rather than half empty.

1) doi: https://doi.org/10.1136/bmj.l6573