It’s that time of the year again! What? No, not Halloween – the Nobel Prize winners are being announced! Not surprisingly, all 2016 winners announced are males. This gender gap within the Nobel laureates is not new. Since 1901, there have been 825 male winners of the Nobel Prize, but just 47 female winners. It’s been 53 years since a female has won the Nobel Prize in Physics. Not only that, but Nobel Prize winners are almost all white men. In total, there have been only 15 Black Nobel winners in history. Also, Nobel Prize winners are becoming older, meaning you need to wait longer to be recognized.
You will find more statistics at Statista.
One could argue that the Nobel Prize organization was created in the 19th century and only covers “fundamental” science fields. In the current world of less funding, how many of the researchers can afford to do “fundamental” science? Science has evolved, and yet most of the “newer” sciences don’t have a Nobel prize included. Further, the Nobel prizes perpetuate the myth of the lone “genius” scientist, and even when the prize was instituted it just wasn’t true. It’s even less true today. Science progresses due to the efforts of many. The Nobel Prize format clearly needs to be updated.
So why is there this bias in the Nobel Prize? Are women are not being recognized, or are male really doing making the more significant discoveries? Are minorities doing science on “newer” fields that are not currently recognized?
Share your thoughts! Join our next #DiversityJC to discuss Nobel Prize bias, next Friday Oct 21st, 2pm ET.