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The hidden power of individual reviewers

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When a reviewer is judging a proposal for a grant, there is a stance where a lot of power has been transferred to that individual. It is within reach, therefore, that the reviewer can impose self-determined metrics to judge the work of men and women.

Traditionally this was done in such a way that women would be judged harsher than men, and a lot of effort was put to prevent male-biased outcomes. However, unbiased approaches do not make justice to the unpaid work done by women that very easily explains parts of the difficulties they have to face.

If a reviewer would acknowledge this and judge women accordingly (i.e. without resorting to externalizing the decision to criteria imposed by others), they would have, within reach, the power to tilt the playing field in such a way that is, at least, leveled for men and women.

This approach does not require systemic changes, it just requires individuals exerting the power they are given in the process of reviewing grants and other applications.


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Aquiles Carattino
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