Monday, June 8, 2009

The bridge is crossed, but stay on the train!

Woot. According to recent reports by the National Research Council and The Proceedings of the National Academy of Science, women have stepped up in science and math. The achievement gap between males and females in math performance across all age groups is now nill, and women who apply for and join university faculties in math and science are as likely to succeed as men. Of course, there are caveats. Women still don’t have comparable salaries and are underrepresented in fields like physics, engineering, and computer science. We do, however, hold the majority of degrees in psychology and biomedical sciences. Further proof that women will one day no longer need men since we’ll probably figure out how to reproduce without them with science! Heh, no, I kid. On a more serious note, even though many of them are now obtaining advanced degrees in science, retaining women faculty is proving more challenging. An MIT study in 1999 found that one of the biggest reasons for female faculty dropout was overwork from balancing their career and their family life. Well crap- what do we do about that? What a shame for these accomplished women to spend so much time and energy and money building their careers, and what a loss to the colleges and universities. Should universities provide free day care or offer flexible hours? Should they provide more funding to hire academic assistants? Should new fathers be entitled to the same benefits? I don't really have a great suggestion, but as an aspiring female scientist and advisor, I would love to hear some advice on what I can do to prepare my future.


Here's the link to the NY Times article

1 comment:

  1. Thats great that the gender ratio is getting more balanced. Diversity and equality can only be good things for everybody. Not sure about how to resolve the family life/job life. Traditionally companies relied upon the traditional family structure to maximize the number of hours worked by men. Now that both parents tend to be working...will companies give in and allow more time off? I would hope so, but I'm a little skeptical that it will happen in this global economy.