Women in Physics – why so few? Petra Rudolf Rijksuniversiteit Groningen The Netherlands
Women in Physics – why so few?
Marie Sklodowska-Curie Ir ė ne Joliot - Curie Maria G ö ppert - Mayer Dorothy Crowfoot-Hodgekin Rosalyn Yalow Lise Meitner Chien-Shiung Wu Rosalind Franklin Jocelyn Bell - Burnell Emmy Noether
Percentage of female science students in French speaking part of Belgium Data: CREF, December 2001
Girls don’t identify with the “image” of a scientist
« Newtonia » : How do young women choose their majors at the Université Libre de Bruxelles (see Faits & Gestes n.7, firstname.lastname@example.org)
48 % of boys choose “strong math” programme at high school but only 30% of the girl make the same choice;
only 1/3 of the girls who had chosen “strong math” at high school choose to study a scientific subject compared to 70% of the boys.
- Discouraged by parents and teachers
- Prejudice:“female” / “m a le” professions
source: NATIONAL POLICIES ON WOMEN AND SCIENCE IN EUROPE, a report about Women and Science in 30 countries, by Prof. Teresa Rees, School of Social Sciences, Cardiff University, U.K., March 2002, published by the European Commission. The number of female students is not the core problem: see % of women in academia in the Netherlands (1999) 2008:8%
IUPAP study 2002 (see http://www.aip.org/statistics/trends/wmtrends.htm ) : 38% female physicists in developed countries marry during university studies; 30% marry after their final degree; 32% never marry !! 13% female physicists in developed countries had their first child during university studies; 34% after their final degree; 53% never had children !! Study of German physicists (see www.dpg-fachgremien.de/akc/start.html ): 54,6% of the German female physicists are married to physicists while among the male colleagues only 9% are in an equivalent situation Only one of the more than 3000 female physicists had a husband who was not professionally active but took care of the home and the family while 25% of the male physicists are in an equivalent situation. Difficulties in combining family life and career
J.M. Hoem, G.R. Meyer, G. Andersson, Max-Planck-Institut für Demografische Forschung, Rostock , Working Paper WP-2005-014, 2005 . Childlessness and educational attainment among Swedish women born 1955-59 (http://www.demogr.mpg.de/Papers/Working/wp-2005-014.pdf)
it is not so much the qualification but the branch of studies which decides whether women do have babies at all : “Women who followed studies which lead to jobs with little job security seem to have less children“.
Women with PhD in Natural Sciences and Engineering : 29.0 % never marries or lives in in a permanent partnership, 25.1 % remains without children, 62.7% two or more children , first child at 31.25 years of age, education finished at 34.67 years of age
Women with PhD in social sciences and humanites: 34.0 % never marries or lives in in a permanent partnership, 31.9 % remains without children, 47.6 % two or more children , first child at 30.31 years of age, education finished at 36.91 years of age.
Yes, clever women do have babies
• "Do Babies Matter?" by Mary Ann Mason (UC Berkeley) and Marc Goulden. Academe , Nov-Dec 2002 (see http://gradresearch.berkeley.edu/babiesmatter.pdf ) Early babies means that a woman or man has at least one child within the household prior to five years post-PhD.
"Do Babies Matter?" by Mary Ann Mason (UC Berkeley) and Marc Goulden. Academe , Nov-Dec 2002 800 postdoctoral fellows at the University of California, Berkeley were surveyed (mostly biological and physical sciences), about 35% women; and of these, 32% already have at least one child. The majority of these postdocs, both men and women, are married.
"Do Babies Matter?" by Mary Ann Mason (UC Berkeley) and Marc Goulden. Academe , Nov-Dec 2002 (see http://gradresearch.berkeley.edu/babiesmatter.pdf )
What needs to be done ?
- More respect for family obligations
quality care for children of all ages and for elders
flexible working hours
possibility of part time work for a period: for example
temporary research positions with 50% working time for 4 years instead of full time for 2 years
no meetings which start at 4:30 pm ...
- Pause ‘career clock’ and have flexible age limits and rules
for grants and fellowships not to disadvantage people who take time off for family obligations
- Provide funding to help people return to science after career pause.
“ Single women without children were also more likely than men to be considering a career direction away from academia. There was less of a predictable pattern here, but some of these women mentioned social isolation as a negative factor.” "Do Babies Matter?" by Mary Ann Mason (UC Berkeley) and Marc Goulden. Academe , Nov-Dec 2002 (see http://gradresearch.berkeley.edu/babiesmatter.pdf )
But something else does not fit ....
IUPAP study (see http://www.aip.org/statistics/trends/wmtrends.htm ) :
How quickly have you progressed in your career compared to
colleagues who completed degrees at the same time
More quickly 20%
About the same 47%
More slowly 33% !!
20% they have less funding and equipment than their
colleagues in similar positions
57% have given invited talks; 53% acted as referee for a journal;
40% served on conference steering committee, 15% served in
editorial position for journal BUT
1/3 says they are less often invited for talks than male colleagues !
1/3 says they are less often invited for steering committees than
male colleagues !
Same test for all: climb on that tree! Fair selection? Same test for all: climb on that tree!
Your productivity might be judged differently when you are a woman… Nature 387, 341 (1997) Christine Wennerås & Agnes Wold, « Nepotism and Sexism in Peer Review » Impact point = one paper published in Journals impact factor 1 Competence score MRC: - scientific productivity - gender - affiliation to jury member
P. Goldberg, “Are Women Prejudiced Against Women?” Trans-Action 5 (1968), pp. 28-30. M. A. Paludi and W. D. Bauer, “Goldberg Revisited: What's in an Author's Name”, Sex Roles: A Journal of Research, 9 (1983) pp. 387-390. Your productivity might be judged differently when you are a woman… 180 women &180 men asked to review math paper authored as below and rate 1=best, 5=worst mark author John T. McKay Joan T. McKay J. T. McKay Men 1.9 3.0 2.7 Women 2.3 3.0 2.6
Do women scientists do science differently? YES ! Do marriage and children really influence scientific productivity? NO – if you consider the integral over the whole career (only those who stay in are counted…) !!
JPS & JSAP Survey on the Status of Women Physicists, 2002 (see http://www.aapps.org/archive/bulletin/vol13/13_3/13_3_p18p31.pdf ) Professional working hours per day Age 9.0 9.5 10.0 10.5 11.0 11.5 0.0 0.5 1.0 1.5 2.0 Below 20 30-34 35-39 40-44 45-49 50-54 55-59 Above 60 men women At office At home
JPS & JSAP Survey on the Status of Women Physicists, 2002 (see http://www.aapps.org/archive/bulletin/vol13/13_3/13_3_p18p31.pdf ) Women above 35 publish less than men but women over 50 more than men – at the end of the career the integral is the same !
Report by Gerhard Sonnert and Gerald Holton (American Scientist Jan/Feb 1996, p. 63) probed attitudes of more than 800 scientists: Women in general publish slightly less - 2,3 papers per year compared to 2,8 paper per year of their male colleagues. Citation rate is significantly higher : Women’s papers cited 24,4 times on average, compared with 14,4 times for men. Authors of report: higher citation rate = more noteworthy content “ Women scientists are inclined toward more comprehensive and synthetic work and more likely to find a scientific ‘niche’ rather than compete with colleagues in the same area of expertise ”. Your productivity might be different when you are a woman…
Sonnert and Holton’s study also found that while 70% of the men considered their own scientific ability as being above average, only 50% of the women did. The way you see yourself might be different when you are a woman…
“ Carnegie Institute of Technology’s Report on knowledge and career advancement in technological professions” (2003)
Career success is determined for only 15% by the technical and scientific knowledge but depends for 85% on “human engineering” .
You have to be very good but that does not mean you will advance well…(Old Boys Network, recommendations)
M en apply for a job when they satisfy 60-70% of the criteria , women apply nearly exclusively only when they satisfy the criteria 100% .
Women are “to honest” in job interviews.
What is important for a good career? Good networking Good crisis management, resourcefulness, adaptability Right partner/husband Strong recommendations from highly regarded people What do you need to do to launch and advance your career ? Decide what you want to do : choose a physics/chemistry speciality and a career path; set near-term and long-range goals What defines success? Recognition : advancement, peer respect, publication citation, job offers, funding, number of students, invited talks Individual factors : fun, independence, life balance between effort and rewards Obtain a position : prepare for each interview, be confident Realise what is expected from you in terms of achievement at each career step – and always prepare for the next step
Apart from giving scientific guidance, he/she should
provide training in presentation of results, paper writing
find funding / help you find funding
teach you how to write successful proposals
teach you the « rules of the game » and how to change it
introduce you to important professional contacts
give you challenging assignments and opportunities
provide constructive feedback on unsuccessful proposals or interviews
give you credit, and advocate you in the physics community
Find a good mentor/supervisor ! If you don’t get these things from your supervisor/ mentor, ask for them. If you still don’t get them, try someone/somewhere else.
Avoid overcommittment - say no ! (I am not very good at this one myself…) Do women get the scientific mentoring they need? It seems that, unfortunately, they don’t…. Important books to get advice: Peter Feibelman: A PhD is not enough Federico Rosei: Survival Skills for Scientists
Scientific Mentoring Asked to write publication Introduced to other scientists Invited to co-author a publication Asked to give a communication at a conference Men Women
Men Women What scientific scientific mentoring did you receive? None 1 cross 2 crosses 3 crosses 4 crosses
If you as supervisor think you do everything right but your young team member decides to quit physics although you think he/she got a very good talent for it , maybe you should read:
The future is bright for women in physics! Never give up !