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The scientific work of women is often viewed through a national or regional lens, but given the growing worldwide connectivity of most, if not all, scientific disciplines, there needs to be recognition of how different social, political, and economic mechanisms impact women's participation in the global scientific enterprise. Although these complex sociocultural factors often operate in different ways in various countries and regions, studies within and across nations consistently show inverse correlations between levels in the scientific and technical career hierarchy and the number of women in science: the higher the positions, the fewer the number of women. Understanding these complex patterns requires interdisciplinary and international approaches. In April 2011, a committee overseen by the National Academies' standing Committee on Women in Science, Engineering, and Medicine (CWSEM) convened a workshop entitled, "Blueprint for the Future: Framing the Issues of Women in Science in a Global Context" in Washington, D.C.

CWSEM's goals are to coordinate, monitor, and advocate action to increase the participation of women in science, engineering, and medicine. The scope of the workshop was limited to women's participation in three scientific disciplines: chemistry, computer science, mathematics, and statistics. The workshop presentations came from a group of scholars and professionals who have been working for several years on documenting, analyzing, and interpreting the status of women in selected technical fields around the world. Examination of the three disciplines-chemistry, computer science, and mathematics and statistics-can be considered a first foray into collecting and analyzing information that can be replicated in other fields.

The complexity of studying science internationally cannot be underestimated, and the presentations demonstrate some of the evidentiary and epistemological challenges that scholars and professionals face in collecting and analyzing data from many different countries and regions. Blueprint for the Future: Framing the Issues of Women in Science in a Global Context summarizes the workshop presentations, which provided an opportunity for dialogue about the issues that the authors have been pursuing in their work to date.

Suggested Citation

National Research Council. 2012. Blueprint for the Future: Framing the Issues of Women in Science in a Global Context: Summary of a Workshop. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press.

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Publication Info

126 pages |  8.5 x 11 | 

  • Paperback:  978-0-309-22519-9
  • Ebook:  978-0-309-22522-9
Chapters skim
Front Matter i-x
1 Welcome and Overview of Workshop 1-2
2 Panel I - Cross-Cultural Issues 3-14
3 Panel II - Focal Disciplines 15-28
4 Panel III - Cross-Cutting Themes 29-38
5 Concluding Presentation and Discussion 39-42
APPENDIX A: Workshop Agenda 43-46
APPENDIX B: Biographies of Speakers 47-54
APPENDIX C: List of Participants 55-58
APPENDIX D: Data on Women Researchers in Science 59-66
APPENDIX E-1: A Snapshot of Gender Differences in Education--Angelica Salvi Del Pero 67-72
APPENDIX E-2: Historical Perspectives on Women in Chemistry, Computer Science, and Mathematics--Mariko Ogawa, Lisa M. Frehill, and Sophia Huyer 73-76
APPENDIX E-3: Institutional and Cultural Parameters Affecting Women's Participation in the Fields of Chemistry, Mathematics, Statistics, and Computer Science around the World--Anne J. MacLachlan 77-80
APPENDIX E-4: Workforce Sex Segregation--Alice Abreu, Lisa M. Frehill, and Kathrin K. Zippel 81-86
APPENDIX E-5: Status of Women in the Chemical Sciences--Robert Lichter, Willie Pearson, Jr., Lisa J. Borello, and Janet L. Bryant 87-92
APPENDIX E-6: Computer Science: Cross-National Snapshots of Entry Degrees and IT Workforce in Selected Countries--J. McGrath Cohoon, Caroline Simard, Juliet Webster, Cecilia Castano, Juliana Salles, Jane Prey, and Jacques Wainer 93-100
APPENDIX E-7: Disciplinary Societies' Role in Women's Status in Chemical Sciences, Computer Science, and Mathematics and Statistics--Lisa M. Frehill 101-104
APPENDIX E-8: Promising Programs in Science: A Cross-National Exploration of What Works to Attract and Sustain Women--Daryl Chubin, Catherine Didion, Josephine Beoku-Betts, and Jann Adams 105-108
APPENDIX E-9: Promising Policies--Cheryl B. Leggon, and Connie L. McNeely 109-116

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