Gender Studies in Math and Other Sciences
current causes of women’s underrepresentation in
Cathy Kessel and Marie A. Vitulli
The 2011 article
Understanding current causes of women’s
underrepresentation in science by Ceci and Williams (Proc. of the National
Academy of Sciences, February 7, 2011) has left some of us with more
questions than answers. The authors conclude that overt discrimination in
publishing and hiring is no longer a deterrent after conducting a
statistical analysis. Other scientists point out statistical errors, gaps
in reasoning, and omission of relevant research. Instead of
discrimination, Ceci and Williams propose 3 factors that explain the
underrepresentation of women in “math-intensive” sciences:
fertility/lifestyle choices, career preferences, and mathematics ability.
Both the Association for Women in Mathematics (AWM) and the Association
for Women in Science (AWIS) have featured criticisms of the Ceci and
Williams article on their websites. Former
AWM President Cathy Kessel and Univerity of Oregon Math Professor Marie
Vitulli wrote a widely-cited critique which you can read here. Links to this critique as well as other
reactions to this and other recent works by Ceci and Williams can be found
on the AWM website. Here is a link to the AWM home page where you can
read more about this topic and find additional resources.
This update to the 1997 Notices article listed below, looks at
gender differences in first jobs for new Ph.D.s between 1996 and 2008
and finds that there are noticeable
differences in types of first jobs and differences in
rates. The article appeared in the
Notices of the American Mathematical Society 57(2010), 984-986.
Results of an analysis for gender differences in employment for new
Ph.D.s in mathematics. The article appeared in the
Notices of the American Mathematical Society 44(1997), 338-339.
The American Statistical Association (ASA) releases the “Gender Balance in ASA Activities Update.” Their findings suggest the representation of women across ASA activities has generally improved between 2012 and now, the share of women serving on the editorial boards of scientific journals should be higher (an area that was not previously explored). They also observed that ASA sections in which women are a larger share of the section membership are not well represented in the ASA awards structure.
Women, Minorities, and Persons with Disabilities in Science and
Engineering provides statistical information about the participation of women,
minorities, and persons with disabilities in science and engineering education and employment.
A formal report, now in the form of a digest, is issued every 2 years
by the National Science Foundation. You can view the accompanying chart on
degrees in the physical sciences and mathematics going to women between 1989 and 2008 here.
This is a study of faculty diversity
in the top 50 Departments in Mathematics, Computer Science, Chemistry,
Physics, and Electrical, Civil, and Mechanical Engineering. A wealth of
data is summarized in the study.
Differences at Critical Transitions in the Careers of Science,
Engineering, and Mathematics Faculty
This report by the National Academies presents new and surprising
findings about career differences between female
and male full-time, tenure-track, and tenured faculty in science,
mathematics at the nation’s top research universities. Much of this
mandated book is based on two unique surveys of faculty and departments at
research universities in six fields: biology, chemistry, civil
engineering, mathematics, and physics. The link takes you to a site where
you can buy the complete study or download a free PDF summary.
Dual Career Academics
Researchers at the Michelle R. Clayman Institute for Gender Research
at Stanford University have done an extensive study of dual-career
academic couples. Researchers in the Clayman study surveyed over 9000
full-time faculty members at 13 leading U.S. research universities.
Over 36% of those surveyed have academic partners and dual-career
hires increased from 3% in 1970 to 13% in the 2000s. The study as well
as many other resources can be
found on this website.
group is a multi-institutional research group that conducts
questions related to how social and professional networks matter in the
careers of academic scientists, with special attention to women and
underrepresented minorities. The research is funded through two major NSF
- NETWISE I: Women in Science and Engineering: Network Acces,
Participation, and Career Outcomes
- NETWISE II: Empirical Research: Breaking throught the
Repuutational Ceiling: Professional Networsk as a Determinant of
Advancement, Mobility, and Career Outcomes for Women and Minorities in