A new study suggests that women and minorities are less likely to receive early support from potential academic mentors. Researchers from Wharton, Columbia and NYU ran an interesting field experiment: Pretending to be students, they e-mailed more than 6500 professors at top U.S. universities admiring each professor's work and asking to meet. The e-mails were all identical except for the senders' names.
Names that one can associate with a gender or race -- like Brad Anderson, Meredith Roberts, LaToya Brown, Juanita Martinez, Deepak Patel, Sonali Desai, Chang Wong, and Mei Chen -- were used.
The researchers found that faculty were most likely to respond to e-mails from white males. But more surprising was the high level of racial bias against Asians and Indians -- professors were likeliest to ignore e-mails from these students.
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