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Women in Physics

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  1. Women in Physics Latifa Elouadrhiri Jefferson Lab

  2. High School Graduates NSF, S&E Indicators, 2008

  3. High School Graduates NSF, S&E Indicators, 2008

  4. NSF, S&E Indicators, 2008

  5. NSF, S&E Indicators, 2008

  6. Women in Physics Ivie & Ray 2005

  7. Leaky Pipeline • Pipeline is a conceptual picture with multiple stages – • Stage 1 -- high school • Stage 2 -- undergraduate • Stage 3 -- graduate school • Stage 4 -- post-doctoral • Stage 5 -- career researcher (University, National Lab, etc.) • The biggest leak in the pipeline is in the college years following high school. • 50% of high school physics majors are women • <25% of bachelor’s degrees are awarded to women

  8. Hope • From educators who administer undergraduate research • The retention rate of male and female students is almost identical nearly 80% for students in undergraduate research programs. (from NSF’s recent workshop) • However, fewer females take these opportunities • Probable reasons for retention? • Getting hooked on research? • The sites that administers the program are aware of the ‘leak’ and may make special effort Recruit graduating high school majors for summer research

  9. Factors Contributing to Retention • Diversity • University faculty, Lab’s Scientific Staff • Mentoring • Has to happen at every stage • Collegial • Seeking and valuing student input in research work • Interesting work • Course work as well as research work • Family friendly policies • can be made gender neutral • e.g. Supporting young children’s travel with the parent to conferences

  10. Factors Contributing to Retention • Building Confidence • Why can’t a woman be more like a man? Student should not have to make that type of choice • Understanding and eliminating conscious and unconscious biases • Commitment to creating the right environment

  11. Summary For Students • Create an environment to keep students engaged • Start early in the career • Provide Research opportunities • Discussion/Seminar groups • Giving responsibility with authority • e.g. Organizing undergraduate seminars • Provide mentors/role models Explore funding opportunities for ‘rising freshman’ (i.e. students who have graduated from high school) to do summer research .

  12. Summary For Scientists • Reach students early • As early as high school • In order to reduce dropout rate, encourage students at every step of their careers (reducing the pipeline leak) • Value their intellectual input to your research Not surprisingly, a number of these measures work for male students as well This is not free.Institutions must support these efforts