ERIC Number: EJ989523
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2012-Oct-29
Reference Count: N/A
More Gender Diversity Will Mean Better Science
Rosser, Sue V.
Chronicle of Higher Education, Oct 2012
As more women choose careers in the sciences, the stakes are higher than ever before. Having women in key decision-making positions in the scientific and technological work force is critical to the future of society. Successful senior female scientists serve as a prime source of leadership for top academic administrative positions. A more diverse work force in the science, engineering, technology, and mathematics (STEM) fields not only allows women and other members of underrepresented groups to reap the benefits of the relatively high salaries of scientists and engineers. It may also lead to innovations in science and engineering, since people from different backgrounds bring diverse approaches to problem-solving--in the classroom, laboratories, and on the job--that can improve daily lives. Academe continues to improve for women, who represent more than 30 percent of STEM faculty at four-year institutions. Although the percentage drops precipitously at elite research institutions, particularly at the rank of full professor (about 10 percent are women), a 2009 report from the National Academy of Sciences found improving opportunities nationally for women in tenure-track positions at those institutions. Because of Title VII and Title IX, virtually all institutions have articulated policies banning gender discrimination and sexual harassment. Many now have policies that facilitate balancing career and family, during especially crucial life transitions. Although old issues remain with new facets and faces, progress has been made in cultivating female scientists and changing institutional structures. As President Obama has emphasized, to compete in the global market, the United States needs to increase the percentage of Americans graduating from college over all, and the numbers of scientists and engineers. To achieve this, the scientific work force needs to change from being predominantly white and male to reflect the demographics of the population as a whole. Even more than in basic research, applications for technology and inventions depend upon the experiences and ideas of the designers. More women, as well as more diversity in general, in the STEM work force not only helps to guard against bias but may lead to new ideas that will improve life for everybody.
Descriptors: Females, Labor Force, Scientists, Sexual Harassment, Gender Issues, Gender Bias, Sex Fairness, Career Choice, STEM Education, Women Faculty, College Faculty, Educational Opportunities, School Policy, Social Discrimination, Federal Legislation, Equal Opportunities (Jobs)
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Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Descriptive
Education Level: Higher Education
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Laws, Policies, & Programs: Higher Education Act Title IX