but it turns out she will have some obstacles to face, and one of them will be her professors.
In a depressing study published in PNAS, researchers provided scientists from research-oriented universities with one of two sets of otherwise-identical application materials for a lab tech position - one group received a set with a female name, the other a male name.
Faculty rated the male student as more competent and more "hireable", and suggested higher starting salaries for the male applicants as well. Worse (and exacerbating the situation), faculty also were more likely to want to mentor the male student than the female one.
Shockingly, this result was independent of the gender of the faculty member - women scientists were showing the same gender bias as men.
Reading the paper, it is clear that this bias is subtle and likely not recognized by those exhibiting it. While we should all be deeply troubled by these data, my interpretation of the article is that these biases are in all likelihood unintentional and subconscious. If we can make ourselves really pay attention to our interactions with women in science, maybe we can start to change the culture.
Maybe that little kid will have an easier time becoming a scientist, if that's what she chooses.
The first step, it seems, is recognizing that you have a problem.