Does having a female mentor affect success of mentees?


    A wave of controversy and outrage followed the recent publication of a study by AlShebi et al. from the New York University of Abu Dhabi on November 17th. In their Nature Communications paper, the authors analyzed 3 million mentor–protégé pairs to assess the impact of mentorship quality on the future scientific career of protégés. In addition, the gender of both mentors and mentees was analyzed as a potential factor affecting the quality of such mentorships. 

    The study found that increasing the number of female mentors was associated with a reduction in post-mentorship impact (fewer articles published) by female mentees. Likewise, a decrease in citations of the papers published by female-female mentor pairs was reported during the mentorship period. It concluded by saying that 'opposite-gender mentorship may actually increase the impact of women who pursue a scientific career' and that current diversity policies should be revisited. 

    Shortly after its release, a myriad of scientists from a diverse range of backgrounds expressed their concerns and/or disagreements on social media about the interpretation of the data....


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