Why So Few?

I’d like to pass on a link (sent to me in email*) to the New York Times article about the new NSF-sponsored study and report (links to it are within) on the under-representation of Women in science and mathematics. Reporter Tamar Levin summarizes it there and quotes a number of interviewees. Sample extract:

The report found ample evidence of continuing cultural bias. One study of postdoctoral applicants, for example, found that women had to publish 3 more papers in prestigious journals, or 20 more in less-known publications, to be judged as productive as male applicants.

Making judgments about an individual’s abilities based on his or her sex is a classic form of discrimination, said Nancy Hopkins, an M.I.T. biology professor who created an academic stir in the 1990s by documenting pervasive, but largely unintentional, discrimination against women at the university.

Have a look.

I note that an email in my inbox just half an hour after the one telling me about the above link was news from Aspen. The relevant search committee has recommended that the next president of the Aspen Center for Physics will be Rosemary Wyse. (This is subject to being officially voted on by the Trustees of the center, but I don’t think I’m breaking any board rules by mentioning this official recommendation here.) Quoting:

Rosemary will be the 15th president of the ACP and the first woman to hold the office. In addition, she will lead us during the 2012 celebration of our 50th anniversary. Rosie is a Professor in the Department of Physics & Astronomy at the Johns Hopkins University. She is one of the pioneers of near-field cosmology, where detailed investigations of nearby galaxies are used to gain insight into the formation and evolution of galaxies. Rosie is also one the leading experts on our own Milky Way galaxy.

Excellent news. Rosie’s simply a fantastic choice!


*Thanks Yvette!

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