Cornelia Dean has written a very interesting article for the New York Times about the things people are doing to change the current situation concerning the underrepresentation of Women in Science in academia. It continues on from the discussion we were having after the September release of the report by the National Academy of Science on the issue.
The key point under discussion? From the article:
Since the 1970s, women have surged into science and engineering classes in larger and larger numbers, even at top-tier institutions like the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, where half the undergraduate science majors and more than a third of the engineering students are women. Half of the nationâ€™s medical students are women, and for decades the numbers have been rising similarly in disciplines like biology and mathematics.
Yet studies show that women in science still routinely receive less research support than their male colleagues, and they have not reached the top academic ranks in numbers anything like their growing presence would suggest.
In fact, it is only in the social, behavioral or life sciences that the proportion of women full professors has risen into double digits – 15 percent or so. Something goes wrong. What is it?
at each step on the academic ladder, more women than men leave science and engineering.
The current article reports on a number of gatherings on various campuses – conferences organised to network, share, and brainstorm a bit on the issue. There are interviews with several people, and experiences and anecdotes are shared. Very much worth your time to read. Discussed are a wide range of topics, the most central being that it is still the case that women are judged by different standards than men. Even though often times it might seem to be something as simple as what to wear to a meeting – it makes a difference. These things all add up. Other things mentioned are the two-body problem, mentoring, letters of recommendation, children and motherhood, and negotiating skills, among others.
I’ll let you read the article, but do come back and let us know what you think. We’ve been through a lot of this discussion before, so one aspect I’d like to hear about is the following: What are you doing about the issue in your own sphere of influence? Are […] Click to continue reading this post