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Comment & Response
February 23, 2016

Differences in Institutional Support by Sex—Reply

Author Affiliations
  • 1Medical Foundation Division, Health Resources in Action, Boston, Massachusetts
  • 2National Institute for Child Healthcare Quality, Boston, Massachusetts

Copyright 2016 American Medical Association. All Rights Reserved. Applicable FARS/DFARS Restrictions Apply to Government Use.

JAMA. 2016;315(8):821-822. doi:10.1001/jama.2015.17148

In Reply Ms Robinson and Dr Snellman provide precisely the sort of response we had hoped for in publishing our results: a serious discussion about the different career trajectories of male and female scientists. Our data raise the possibility that differences in early career institutional support may be one obstacle faced by women in biomedical research.

However, as noted by Robinson and Snellman, the nature of our sample composed of applicants to 2 early-career award programs, does not allow us to exclude the possibility that the observed differences were due to sample bias resulting from decisions made by the early-career scientists themselves. Men and women may have made different decisions in their chosen field of study; men may have chosen research topics that required more laboratory equipment.