Committee on the Status ofWomen in PhysicsEfforts for Gender EquityCatherine Fiore, PhDMassachusetts Institute of TechnologyPrepared for the Women in Materials Science and Engineering BreakfastBoston, MADecember 2, 2009Outline:¾CSWP¾The Gender Equity Conference¾Conversations on Gender Equity
Committee on the Status ofWomen in Physics¾The Committee on the Status of Women in Physics (CSWP) was founded in1972 to address the encouragement and career development of womenphysicists.¾The Committee consists of nine volunteer members appointed for 3 year termsby the President of the APS.¾Throughout its 37-year history, CSWP has been an active sponsor of studies,programs and publications to foster women in physics.¾http:// .cfm
A partial list of activities:Publishes CSWP Gazette twice yearlyConducts site visits on climate to universities/nationallaboratoriesSponsors Career Development Workshops twice a yearAdministers M. Hildred Blewett ScholarshipSponsors Childcare Grants for the National meetingsSponsors networking activities at the National meetingsParticipates in the IUPAP conference on Women in PhysicsGender Equity ConferenceGender Equity Conversations Visits
CSWP site visits¾Site visits are only done at the request of the organization’sleadership¾The goal is positive – to improve the climate for women inphysics¾Management is expected to actively participate and promoteemployee participation¾The survey process invites the participation of the entireworkforce including men¾Includes the opportunity to provide anonymouscomments to the site visit team¾Information is requested on many aspects of the institutionThe goals of these visits are three-fold:1. Identify a set of generic problems commonly experienced by minority and/or womenphysicists.2. Intervene to solve many of these generic problems.3. Address problems arising in the particular physics department or lab visited and helpimprove the climate for minorities or women (both students and faculty) in the facility.
CSWP site visits20032009MIT **University of OregonNat’l Superconducting Cyclotron Lab ***2008Vanderbilt UniversityIndiana UniversitySUNY at Stony BrookUniversity of Texas/AustinStanford UniversityHarvard UniversityUniversity of RochesterNorth Carolina StateUniversity2002Argonne National Lab *University of WisconsinUniversity of IowaNASA/Goddard * **Fermi Nat’l Accelerator Laboratory* **Lawrence Berkeley Nat’l Laboratory*20071994Purdue UniversityUniversity of MinnesotaDuke UniversityOhio State University19932001Michigan State University University of New MexicoKansas State UniversityUniversity of Maryland(return visit)2006JILA/Boulder*20002005University of MichiganNIST/Gaithersburg *NIST/Boulder *Iowa State University2004University of WashingtonColorado School of MinesUniversity of Arizona1992College of William & MaryUCAR/NCAR *Penn State UniversityRPIWilliams CollegeUniversity of Illinois atUrbana Champaign1998University of California/San 1991DiegoUniversity of PennsylvaniaBryn Mawr CollegeUniversity of VirginiaPrinceton University1997Columbia UniversityUniversity ofColorado/Boulder1996California Institute ofTechnology1990University of Maryland
Gender Equity Conference:Strengthening the Physics Enterprisein Universities and National LaboratoriesSponsored by the APSCommittee on the Status ofWomen in Physics withsupport from NSF and DOEMay 6‐8 2007Topics: Defining the Issues Equity and Bias Challenges and Opportunities Recommendations to IncreaseRecruitment, Hiring, Retention,and Promotion Training the Next Generation Challenges and Opportunitiesfor the Funding AgenciesPhysics Department Chairs from 50 major researchuniversities, representatives from over a dozen national labsplus representatives of several funding agencies attended.
Defining the Issues:Continued growth in US productivity dependson continued growth in STEM sectorOver 50% of productivity increase over past halfcentury ascribed to science and technology.From 1965 to 1995 the size of the US science andtechnology workforce grew from 11% to 15%.The census bureau projects that by 2050, thepercentage of the potential workforce in the UScomprised of white males will drop from 38% to26%.Currently most STEM degrees other than inbiological sciences are earned by white males.To maintain an adequate science and technologyworkforce, we must increase participation byunder‐represented groups: women, Hispanics,African‐Americans.Arthur Bienenstock, past president of APS, showed that theneeds for educated STEM workers can only be met byincreasing participation by women and under‐representedminorities.
Defining the Issues:Growth Trends in Science and TechnologyDoctoral degrees awarded in S&E and non‐S&E fields toU.S. citizens and permanent residents, by sex: 1966–2006SOURCE: National Science Foundation, Division of ScienceResources Statistics, Survey of Earned Doctorates, 1966–2006.Participation by women is rising in mostSTEM fields‐physics and engineering are stillwell behind biology and chemistryGrowth in science and engineeringdoctorates since 1985 is from increasedparticipation by women
Defining the Issues:Equity in the AcademyMost PhD granting institutions now have atleast one or more women in the physicsfaculty.As of 2006, 43% of all physics departmentshad no women faculty
Defining the Issues:Equity in the AcademyWomen disproportionately populate non‐tenure track faculty positions.Women faculty percentage is higher atbachelor and masters granting institutionsMost PhD granting institutions now have atleast one or more women in the physicsfaculty.As of 2006, 43% of all physics departmentshad no women faculty
Defining the Issues:What is holding women back?Beyond Bias and Barriers: Fufilling thePotential of Women in AcademicScience and EngineeringA report by the National Academy ofScience, 2007The over arching conclusion of thisreport is that women in scienceand engineering are held back fromachieving their full potential, not bya lack or drive or talent, but byunintentional biases and byinstitutional structures that hindertheir advancement.Alice Agogino, UC Berkely, an author ofthis report, stressed the impact ofdepartment and laboratory leadershipon successful recruitment and retention
Equity and Bias:Exploring Unintended Bias Virginia Valian, Hunter College: Ingrained cultural perceptions about genderplay a strong role in how women are regarded and treated in the physicscommunity. Schemas are tools used in the human brain for efficient storage and retrieval ofinformation important to survival‐ a shorthand summary of observations‐ theyencode stereotypes and presumptions into mental images If one has stored an image of a physicist as a male, overly focused on researchto the exclusion of all else, then the tendency is to give greater credence to thosewho fit the inner image. This adds up over time to an advantage for the traditional candidate in hiringand promotion decisions. It is critical that search committees, compensation committees, tenurecommittees, be trained to recognize and counteract these unintended biases Example: letters of recommendation use different terms for differentcandidates, e.g. independent vs team player.
Challenges and OpportunitiesThe problem: Caretakers fear that they are perceived asless serious; Fear that co‐workers see themas shedding responsibility. May take unreasonable steps to avoidsuch perceptions:¾Not taking adequate time off forchildbirth¾Missing school functions¾Not taking advantage of tenureclock policiesSolutions: Make childbirth policies “opt out” ratherthan “opt in” Encourage all genders to be open aboutcaretaker respsonsibilitiesRobert Drago, Penn State University, describedthe negative perception of caretakerresponsibilities and the “bias avoidance”phenomenon.
Challenges and OpportunitiesRecruitment:¾ Identify potential candidates earlyHiring:¾ Train search committees¾Broadly define job description¾Pay attention to the two body problemRetention:¾Improve climate¾Networking¾Implement Effective PoliciesPromotion:¾Make promotion process transparent¾Effective mentoringAna Mari Cauce, University of Washington,Pat Falcone, Sandia National LaboratoriesMyron Campbell, University of Michigan,Mildred Dresselhaus, MITMary Ann Mason, Berkeleyparticipated in a panel discussion: “Challengesto Institutions; Recruitment and Hiring,Retention and Promotion”
Recommendations to Increase Recruitment,Hiring, Retention, and PromotionPatricia Rankin, University of Colorado:¾ Change must be both top down andbottom up¾Workshops for women to improvenegotiation, networking , andcommunication skills are essential¾Commitment to institutionalimprovement by senior managementalso necessarySue Rosser, Georgia Tech:¾Advance grants are a important toolin increasing participation andadvancement women in science andtechnologyAttendees joined breakout sessions overlunch to discuss issues of recruitment, hiring,retention and promotion
Recommendations to Increase Recruitment,Hiring, Retention, and PromotionLaurie McNeil, University of NorthCarolina:¾Use innovation to deal with twobody problem—try pooling withnearby institutionsNatalie Roe, Lawrence BerkeleyLaboratory:¾Use broadly defined jobdescriptions to increase candidatepool¾Have formal mentoring programfor junior employees¾Increase transparency aroundevaluation and promotion processPanel members summarize the resultsfrom the break out sessions, addinformation about successful programs
Training the Next GenerationEstablishing a healthy climate for womenstudentsBarbara Whitten:— Increase recruitment of womenmajors—Have student study lounges for majors— Improve quality of introductorycourses— Promote community events forstudents: SPS, pizza lunches withfaculty, using majors as tutorsHoward Georgii:—Meet with the women students andpay attention to their needsMeg Urry, Yale, joins Barbara Whitten, ColoradoCollege, Howard Georgii, Harvard and KeivenStassun, Vanderbilt (not pictured) to discussbest practices for students.
Training the Next GenerationMeg Urry (standing in for MarcKastner of MIT):— MIT provides childcareaccommodation for graduatestudents—Women students have adedicated lounge area andmonthly dinner courtesy of agenerous alumna— Women graduate studentspair with undergraduates toprovide mentoring— Women graduate studentsparticipate in recruitment ofnew graduate studentsKeiven Stassun:—Vanderbilt partners with HBCU Fisk University toseamlessly move — Fisk masters students into doctoralprograms at VanderbiltEffective for increasing participation of both men andwomen in physics
Challenges and Opportunities for the FundingAgenciesPat Dehmer:The government is committed tofighting discriminationThe funding agencies are concernedwith future shortfalls in the STEMworkforceJudith Sunley:NSF has a long track record forencouraging increased participation forwomen in science and engineering.Advance grants to university programsare designed to increase participationNSF tracks gender information in thegrant processNora Berrah, conference chair, introduced JudithSunley, NSF, and Pat Dehmer, DOE to discusscommitment of the US government to increaseparticipation by women and minorities inscience and engineering fields
Challenges and Opportunities for the FundingAgenciesMake grant process more family friendly:¾ Increase length of grant period to cutpaperwork¾Provide extensions for maternity coverage¾Provide mechanism for dealing withmaternity for post‐doctoral students¾Provide for child‐care needs with grantrelated travelEliminate gender and racial bias in grantdecision processEducate students early in grant applicationprocess:¾Bring post‐doctoral students into grantreview process¾Encourage graduate students to participatein grant preparationArthur Bienenstock moderates a panel comprised ofErich Rolfing of DOE, Joe Dehmer, W. Lance Hayworth,and G. Wayne van Citters, all of NSF who discussed howthe funding agencies can help
Recommendations30 recommendations were generated and are included in the final report, available erequity/upload/genderequity.pdf“Constant collection and monitoring of data to chartequity progress, coupled with attention family friendlypolicies, subtle biases in promotion and tenureprocesses, and support from top leadership areneeded for women to advance in academic science.”Sue Rosser, Georgia Tech“If you make all your women students and facultyfeel more valued by your speech and actions—including speaking up for family friendlypractices—and if you publically chastise those thatmake demeaning or snide comments, you will findthe rewards are great.” Judy Franz, APS“Spreading best practices through workshopsmakes the environment better for everyone, notjust women.” Patricia Rankin, University ofColoradoSherry Yennellosummarized therecommendationsgenerated by theparticipants“The best thing you can do for yourstudents—male and female—is tobecome a feminist.” Howard Georgii,Harvard University
Going Forward:Gender Equity ConversationsA program to facilitate internal discussion in physics departments of genderequity issues and solutions has been initiated with NSF funding.The goal is to have the faculty and staff formulate solutions that will fit withinthe culture of the department. By having departments take ownership of theproblems, effective change is more likely.Teams comprised of 2 or 3 physicists travel to the physics department/nationallabs to facilitate internal discussion on gender equity in their institution.Visits are at the invitation of the institution.The department deploys a host committee, comprised of the department chair,an advocate for improvement who can take ownership of the process, and adepartment member who understands the culture of the department.
Gender Equity ConversationsThe ProcessAfter an initial consultation between the visiting and host committee (jointcommittee) meets with a cross section of people from all groups in thedepartment: staff, undergraduates, graduates, post‐docs, and faculty. Theseparticipate in an exercise to determine what are the challenges to womenthriving in physics in a.) the department, b.) the university, and c.) the broadercommunity. Discussion and summary by the participants distills this into a listof challenges to be addressed.The joint committee meets in turn with staff, undergraduates, graduate andpost doctoral students, then faculty to solicit solutions to the challenges raised.The joint committee meets with faculty to brainstorm what solutions can beimplemented in the department. Cultural impediments to change areexplored.The joint committee prepares a list of action items to be pursued by thedepartment, and prepares notes on the meeting.
Gender Equity ConversationsThe Program so Far Three visits this fall. Three pending.Fifteen are planned by the end of CY2010. The perceived challenges at eachinstitution are different.¾Family friendly issues dominated at onelocation.¾Mentoring and advising was the major issue atanother.¾Civility and community issues also emerged. Visits have been enthusiastically received.By the end of the day, the process is clearlyin the hands of the department. The host committees have all drafted alist of action items and committed to beginworking on them.Catherine Fiore, Sherry Yennello, Jarita Holbrook,Mike Thoenessen, and Patricia Rankin prepare forthe first Gender Equity Conversations Visit
AcknowledgementsOrganizing CommitteeFunding Agency RepresentativesNora Berrah, Co‐chair, Western Michigan UniversityBeverly Kobre BergerNational Science FoundationArthur Bienenstock, Co‐chair ,Stanford UniversityKimberly Susan Budil , Lawrence Livermore National LaboratoryCatherine Fiore, Massachusetts Institute of TechnologyTammy BoslerNational Science FoundationDana LehrNational Science FoundationTheodore Hodapp, American Physical SocietyPatricia Rankin , University of ColoradoClaudia Megan Urry , Yale UniversityKathleen McCloudNational Science FoundationWendy Fuller MoraNational Science FoundationSherry J. Yennello, Texas A&M UniversityAPS Staff LiaisonSue OtwellLinda BlevinsUS Department of EnergyEric RohlfingUS Department of Energy
Purdue University. University of Minnesota. Duke University. Ohio State University. 2002. Argonne National Lab * University of Wisconsin. University of Iowa. NASA/Goddard * ** 2001. University of Maryland (return visit) 2000. College of William & Mary. UCAR/NCAR * Penn State University. 1998. University of California/San Diego. Princeton .
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