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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
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.
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

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.

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
slide30

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.

slide31

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.

slide32

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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