Rise in Women Receiving Science Ph.D.s, But Few Become Faculty
August 29, 2005 -- A new study found that while more women are receiving doctorates in science and engineering, few assume high-level faculty positions. Appearing in the Aug. 19 issue of Science, the study attributes this to the low number of women encouraged to go into academia, chilly campus climate, and an unconscious bias in hiring practices.
Women scientists are frequently not encouraged by their advisers to pursue academic careers and lack female role models. When evaluators rated writing skills, resumes, journal articles, and career paths, they gave lower ratings on average if told the applicant was female, the study reported.
The study recommended that institutions begin mentoring programs for doctoral students, discrimination education programs for faculty and staff, and a gender-masked application process. Professional societies that prepare students to be faculty could also inspire confidence and access to role models for women scientists.
A National Research Council report, From Scarcity to Visibility: Gender Differences in the Careers of Doctoral Scientists and Engineers, examines women’s careers in science and engineering and provides a detailed comparison of the differences between men and women Ph.D.s. Also, Achieving XXcellence in Science: Role of Professional Societies in Advancing Women in Science: Proceedings of a Workshop, AXXS 2002 and Who Will Do the Science of the Future? A Symposium on Careers of Women in Science discusses how to encourage women to be active in all areas of science.
The Research Council’s Committee on Women in Science and Engineering was created in 1990 to investigate ways to increase the participation of women in science and engineering. The committee collects and disseminates information on the education and employment of women scientists and engineers, and recommends ways to enhance advancement.