Women in physics problems progress and prospects for the future
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Women in Physics: Problems, Progress, and Prospects for the Future. Vicki Greene Vanderbilt University Chair, Committee on the Status of Women in Physics, APS. Outline. Introduction Disclaimers Problems Current participation of women in physics When do we decide Progress The pipeline

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Women in physics problems progress and prospects for the future

Women in Physics: Problems, Progress, and Prospects for the Future

Vicki Greene

Vanderbilt University

Chair, Committee on the Status of Women in Physics, APS


Outline

Outline

  • Introduction

  • Disclaimers

  • Problems

    • Current participation of women in physics

    • When do we decide

  • Progress

    • The pipeline

    • Why not more girls?

  • Is everything rosy?

    • Then & Now

    • Issues & strategies

  • Prospects for the Future

    • More strategies

    • CSWP


Percentage of bachelor s degrees in physics awarded to women

Percentage of bachelor’s degrees in physics awarded to women


Problems

Problems


Progress

Progress


What about the pipeline behold the scissors

What about the pipeline? behold the scissors


Girls aren t good at math

Girls aren’t good at math?


Girls aren t interested in science

Girls aren’t interested in science?


Girls aren t good at spatial relations

Girls aren’t good at spatial relations?


Girls prefer social activities

Girls prefer social activities?


What else

What else?

  • Other “explanations”

    • Women play dumb to impress men

    • Women choose families over career

    • Women aren’t willing to make the necessary sacrifices

  • And some real concerns:

    • Problem sets

    • Imposter syndrome

    • Perception of own abilities/ effect of low grades


In math and science a growth mindset benefits girls

In math and science, a growth mindset benefits girls.

  • Teach children that intellectual skills can be acquired.

  • Praise children for effort.

  • Highlight the struggle.

  • Gifted and talented programs should send the message that they value growth and learning.


Percent of bachelor s degrees awarded to women by field

percent of bachelor’s degrees awarded to women by field


Percent of ph d s earned by women by field

Percent of Ph.D’s earned by women by field


So is everything rosy

So Is everything rosy?


Then and now

Then and Now

Then

  • Woman graduate student told she should follow her husband’s postdoc career regardless of her own prospects.

  • Faculty candidate heard that at an interview for a faculty position, she was dressed too attractively and would be a poor role model for the women graduate students.

  • Male graduate students have a computer printout of a nude woman’s body posted on the wall of the lab.

  • Woman graduate student told by professor that she should find a husband and have a family.

  • Attractive woman interviews for faculty position. Chair of committee questions whether she is a serious scientist.

  • Male graduate students keeps a replica of a woman’s breast on his desk at work.

Now


Some realities

Some realities


Possibly not a problem any longer

Possibly not a problem any longer

  • Bias in peer-review

  • Greater expectations for publication

  • Less likely to get credit for work

  • Less likely to get grant approved


Other concerns

Other concerns

  • Uneven distribution of resources and its effect on productivity

  • More likely to be contingent faculty

  • Balancing career and family

Know that many other women have faced these challenges successfully! Remember the scissors.


Prospects for the future

Prospects for the future


Positive strategies

Positive strategies

  • Focus on outcomes

  • Choose your battles

  • Be resilient

  • Learn how and when to negotiate

  • Watch out for the water cooler gang

  • Work efficiently

  • Choose service work wisely – use a mix of strategy and passion

  • Keep your c.v. up-to-date

  • Learn how to give yourself permission

  • Trust your instincts and follow your interests

  • Know that senior people usually love to talk to their junior colleagues


Committee on the status of women in physics

Committee on the Status of Women in Physics

  • CSWP is a very active committee of the American Physical Society

  • Activities at APS meetings:

    • Networking events

    • Invited sessions

    • Professional skills development

  • Other activities

    • Site visits

    • Woman Physicist of the Month

    • Mari-Goeppert-Meyer Award

    • Blewett Fellowship

    • Gazette newsletter

  • Online

    • Women in Physics on LinkedIn


Center for stem education for girls

Center for stem education for girls

  • The Center for STEM Education for Girls at Harpeth Hall School in Nashville will accomplish the following:

    • Create STEM for Girls Consortium of K-12 and university educational leaders, community leaders, and business leaders that will meet annually to discuss best practices for STEM education for girls at both the secondary and university levels.

    • Initiate and host a summer STEM for Girls Conference for educators, providing teachers with hands-on workshops.

    • Develop a replicable summer STEM Institute for Girls, which will offer intensive experiences in STEM fields for girls primarily from non-magnet public schools and charter schools entering 9th and 10th grades in Middle Tennessee schools.


References

references

  • American Institute of Physics Statistical Research Center www.aip.org/statistics

  • Why so Few? Women in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics, AAUW

  • NSF Division of Science Resources Statistics

  • American Physical Society Committee on the Status of Women in Physics


Women in physics problems progress and prospects for the future

Women’s representation among STEM doctorates has also

increased dramatically over time, although it varies by field.

Doctorates Earned by Women in Selected STEM Fields, 1966–2006

Source: National Science Foundation, Division of Science Resources Statistics, 2008, Science and engineering degrees: 1966–2006 (Detailed Statistical Tables) (NSF 08-321) (Arlington, VA), Table 25, Author's analysis of Tables 34, 35, 38, & 39.


Women in physics problems progress and prospects for the future

Women are less likely than men are to declare a STEM major in college.

Source: Commission on Professionals in Science and Technology. Data derived from Cooperative Institutional Research Program, Higher Education Research Institute, Graduate School of Education and Information Studies, University of California, Los Angeles, The American Freshman: National Norms for Fall 1990 through Fall 2006, www.gseis.ucla.edu/heri/heri.htm.


Women in physics problems progress and prospects for the future

Women’s representation among STEM bachelor’s degree holders

has improved over time but varies by field.

Bachelor’s Degrees Earned by Women in Selected Fields, 1966–2006

Source: National Science Foundation, Division of Science Resources Statistics, 2008, Science and engineering degrees: 1966–2006 (Detailed Statistical Tables) (NSF 08-321) (Arlington, VA), Table 11, Author's analysis of Tables 34, 35, 38, & 39.


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