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Suggested Citation:"1 Introduction." National Academy of Sciences, National Academy of Engineering, and Institute of Medicine. 2007. Beyond Bias and Barriers: Fulfilling the Potential of Women in Academic Science and Engineering. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/11741.
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1
Introduction

Science and engineering education and research are increasingly global endeavors. As described in the recent National Academies report Rising Above the Gathering Storm, globalization has already begun to challenge the longstanding scientific pre-eminence of the United States and, therefore, its economic leadership. Identifying the best, brightest, and most innovative science and engineering talent will be crucial if the nation’s industries and the nation itself are to maintain their competitive edge.

Major American businesses have made clear that the skills needed in today’s increasingly global marketplace can only be developed through exposure to widely diverse people, cultures, ideas, and viewpoints.

—Sandra Day O’Connor1

In the last 30 years, the numbers and proportion of women obtaining science and engineering bachelor’s, master’s, and doctoral degrees have increased dramatically. Women’s presence has grown across the sciences (Figure 1-1). In the life sciences, women outnumber men in both under-

1

Opinion of the court. Grutter v. Bollinger 539 US 306, 2003. http://www.law.cornell.edu/supct/pdf/02-241P.ZO.

Suggested Citation:"1 Introduction." National Academy of Sciences, National Academy of Engineering, and Institute of Medicine. 2007. Beyond Bias and Barriers: Fulfilling the Potential of Women in Academic Science and Engineering. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/11741.
×

FIGURE 1-1 Percentage of science and engineering PhDs awarded to women, 1974-2004.

SOURCE: National Science Foundation (2006). Survey of Earned Doctorates, 1974-2004. Arlington, VA.

graduate and graduate programs.2 Women now earn one-third of the PhDs granted by the 50 leading departments in chemistry, 27% in mathematics and statistics, and one-fourth in physics and astronomy. Even in engineering, historically the field with the fewest female participants, women now constitute one-fifth of undergraduate and graduate students.3 In the top 50 engineering departments, women earn one-fourth of the PhDs granted in chemical engineering and 15% in engineering overall.4

In counterpoint to that dramatic educational progress, women, who constitute about half of the total workforce in the United States and half of the degree recipients in a number of scientific fields, still make up only one-fifth of the nation’s scientific and technical workers. As shown in Chapter 3, at every academic career milestone the proportion of women in science and engineering declines. These declines are evident even in 2003, the most recent year for which data are available. In examining the transition into academic positions (Figure 1-2), the declines are greatest in fields requiring

2

Government Accountability Office (2004). Gender Issues: Women’s Participation in the Sciences Has Increased, but Agencies Need to Do More to Ensure Compliance with Title IX (GAO-04-639). Washington, DC: US Government Accountability Office.

3

GAO (2004), ibid.

4

Handelsman J, N Cantor, M Carnes, D Denton, E Fine, B Grosz, V Hinshaw, C Marrett, S Rosser, D Shalala, and J Sheridan (2005). More women in science. Science 309:1190-1191 http://www.sciencemag.org/cgi/content/full/309/5738/1190.

Suggested Citation:"1 Introduction." National Academy of Sciences, National Academy of Engineering, and Institute of Medicine. 2007. Beyond Bias and Barriers: Fulfilling the Potential of Women in Academic Science and Engineering. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/11741.
×

a period of postdoctoral study, namely life sciences, chemistry, and mathematics. It is interesting that in psychology, which like life sciences and chemistry is a field with a high proportion of women undergraduate and graduate students, there is a substantial decline in the proportion of women with increasing faculty rank. In comparison, in fields with a low proportion of women undergraduate and graduate students such as computer science and physical sciences, these proportions remain fairly constant with increasing faculty rank (Figure 1-2).

The situation is especially severe for minority-group women in sciences and engineering,5 who are subject to dual discrimination and are required to overcome more barriers to achieve success. The bottom line is that minority-group women doctorates are less likely to be in tenure positions than men of any racial group or white women. The data on women faculty of color are discouraging (Box 1-1).

RECOGNIZING OBSTACLES

Women continue to face impediments to academic careers that do not confront men of comparable ability and training. Those barriers cause substantial waste of scientific and engineering talent and training. Several reports issued in the last 3 years have examined the barriers that women interested in science and engineering encounter at various stages of their career development. Some reports, including those by the Congressional Commission on the Advancement of Women and Minorities in Science, Engineering, and Technology (CAWMSET) and the Building Engineering and Science Talent (BEST) Initiative (Box 1-2) have focused on broad pipeline issues. Others, including RAND’s Gender Differences in Major Federal External Grant Programs and the Government Accountability Office’s Women’s Participation in the Sciences Has Increased, but Agencies Need to Do More to Ensure Compliance with Title IX, have focused on the role of funding agencies. A number of university task forces have also issued reports on the institutional climate for women faculty,6 including Harvard

5

Ethnic and racial minority groups are defined using the current nomenclature of the US Census Bureau: African American, Hispanic, Native American (which includes Alaskan Natives and American Indians), and Asian American and Pacific Islanders. While the definition of underrepresented minorities varies by federal agency and between grant programs within agencies, by university, and between scientific and engineering disciplines, in this report by underrepresented minority we mean African American, Hispanic American, and Native American.

6

For a listing of University reports, see the National Academies’ Committee on Women in Science and Engineering Web page, Gender Faculty Studies at Research I Institutions, http://www7.nationalacademies.org/cwse/gender_faculty_links.html.

Suggested Citation:"1 Introduction." National Academy of Sciences, National Academy of Engineering, and Institute of Medicine. 2007. Beyond Bias and Barriers: Fulfilling the Potential of Women in Academic Science and Engineering. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/11741.
×

FIGURE 1-2 Comparison of the proportion of women in PhD pools with those in tenure-track or tenured professor positions in 2003, by field.

Suggested Citation:"1 Introduction." National Academy of Sciences, National Academy of Engineering, and Institute of Medicine. 2007. Beyond Bias and Barriers: Fulfilling the Potential of Women in Academic Science and Engineering. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/11741.
×

NOTES: The Survey of Doctoral Recipients includes only those who earned doctorates in the United States and may underrepresent the actual number of postdoctoral scholars and tenure-track and tenured professors, particularly in those fields such as life sciences where there are a substantial number of international postdoctoral scholars and engineering where there are substantial number of international professors.7 Engineering includes aeronautics, civil, electrical, environmental, industrial, mechanical, and other engineering fields; Life Sciences includes agricultural and biological sciences; Chemistry includes chemical engineering and chemistry fields; Physical Sciences includes geosciences, physics, and other physical science fields; Social Sciences includes political science, sociology and anthropology, and other social science fields. (1) The PhD pool for assistant professors was derived from a sum of all PhDs earned 0-6 years before 2003. (2) Includes those in postdoctoral positions who earned doctorate 0-6 years before 2003. (3) Includes those in assistant professor positions who earned doctorate 0-6 years before 2003. (4) Includes those in assistant professor positions at research universities who earned doctorate 0-6 years before 2003. Research Universities include those with undergraduate and graduate programs, as denoted by the former Carnegie classifications Doctorate 1 and 2 and Research 1 and 2. (5) The PhD pool for associate professors was derived from a sum of all PhDs earned 7-15 years before 2003. (6) Includes those in associate professor positions who earned doctorate 7-15 years before 2003. (7) See note 4. (8) The PhD pool for full professors was derived from a sum of all PhDs earned 16 or more years before 2003. (9) Includes those in full professor positions who earned doctorate 16 or more years before 2003. (10) See note 4.

SOURCE: National Science Foundation (2006). Survey of Doctoral Recipients, 2003. Arlington, VA: National Science Foundation.

7

See NAS/NAE/IOM (2005). Policy Implications of International Graduate Students and Postdoctoral Scholars in the United States. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press.

Suggested Citation:"1 Introduction." National Academy of Sciences, National Academy of Engineering, and Institute of Medicine. 2007. Beyond Bias and Barriers: Fulfilling the Potential of Women in Academic Science and Engineering. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/11741.
×

DEFINING THE ISSUES

BOX 1-1

Diversity among Women

Discrimination in the post-Civil Rights era is less a function of conscious antipathy and increasingly a byproduct of longstanding social structures, interaction patterns, and unexamined stereotypes that systematically disadvantage minority groups.a These may include negative stereotypes of a group’s scientific or academic ability, the lack of influential mentors, and exclusion from social networks that facilitate career advancement.b

The historical experiences and cultural practices and values of America’s various ethnic communities differ widely from one another as well as from American culture at large. So do the stereotypes that the culture at large imposes on them. Because of the diversity of cultural patterns, the experience and expectations of women vary by race and ethnicity.c The additional challenges that girls and women in ethnic and racial minority groups face in attaining scientific and engineering careers thus merit specific attention. Underrepresentation of this group of women is especially acute; Donna Nelson reports that “underrepresented minority women faculty are almost nonexistent in science and engineering departments at research universities.”d

In December 1975, an American Association for the Advancement of Science conference on minority women in science found that both minority-group members (male and female) and women (minority and majority) faced considerable barriers to participation. Being both a woman and a minority-group member meant facing the barriers of both groups—a “double bind.”e

Thirty years later seemingly little has changed. Cathy Trower and Richard Chait note that “despite earning doctorates in ever increasing numbers, many women and persons of color are eschewing academic careers altogether or exiting the academy prior to the tenure decision because both groups experience social isolation, a chilly environment, bias, and hostility.”f The situation is worse if one is both a woman and a minority-group member. The numbers paint a bleak picture for minority women:

  • Most African Americans who earn science and engineering doctorates are women, and yet, these women are less represented in academic faculties than are African American men.g

University’s task forces on Women Faculty and Women in Science and Engineering (Box 1-2).

The National Academies, under the oversight of the Committee on Science, Engineering, and Public Policy, formed the Committee on Maximizing the Potential of Women in Academic Science and Engineering to provide a synthesis of the existing reports and basic research and to examine the implicit and explicit obstacles to educational and academic career advancement of women scientists and engineers, and the effects of race and sex in academic science and engineering careers.

Suggested Citation:"1 Introduction." National Academy of Sciences, National Academy of Engineering, and Institute of Medicine. 2007. Beyond Bias and Barriers: Fulfilling the Potential of Women in Academic Science and Engineering. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/11741.
×
  • The proportion of tenured minority-group women declined from 1989 to 1997.h

  • In 2002, there were no African American, Hispanic, or Native American women in tenured or tenure-track faculty positions in the nation’s “top 50” computer science departments.i

  • In 2002, Native American women held no full professor positions in physical sciences or engineering; there was only one African American woman full professor in the “top 50” physical sciences and engineering departments.j

  

aWT Bielby (2000). Minimizing workplace gender and racial bias. Contemporary Sociology (29) 12-129; B Reskin (2000). The proximate causes of employment discrimination. Contemporary Sociology 29:319-328; S Strum (2001). Second generation employment discrimination: A structural approach. Columbia Law Review 101(3):458-568.

  

bCM Steele (1997). A threat in the air: How stereotypes shape intellectual identity and performance. American Psychologist 52:613-629; J Lach (1999). Minority women hit concrete ceiling. American Demographics 21(9):18-19.

  

cDS Davenport and JM Yurich (1991). Multicultural gender issues. Journal of Counseling and Development 70(1):64-71; SA Hill (2002). Teaching and doing gender in African American families. Sex Roles 47(11-12):493-506; GM Combs (2003). The duality of race and gender for managerial African American women: Implications of informal social networks on career advancement.

  

dDJ Nelson (2005). A National Analysis of Diversity in Science and Engineering Faculties at Research Universities. http://cheminfo.chem.ou.edu/~djn/diversity/briefings/Diversity%20Report%20Final.pdf.

  

eS Malcom, P Hall, and J Brown (1976). The Double Bind: The Price of Being a Minority Woman in Science. (AAAS Publication 76-R-S). Washington, DC: American Association for the Advancement of Science.

  

fC Trower and R Chait (2002). Faculty diversity: Too little for too long. Harvard Magazine (March-April).

  

gSL Myers and CS Turner (2004). The effects of PhD supply on minority faculty representation. The American Economic Review 94(2):296-301.

  

hTrower and Chait (2002), ibid.

  

iNelson (2005), ibid.

  

jNelson (2005), ibid.

The committee was aided in fulfilling its charge by the National Academies’ Committee on Women in Science and Engineering, which during the same time was working on two reports on related subjects, To Recruit and Advance Women Students and Faculty in US Science and Engineering, and Gender Differences in the Careers of Science, Engineering, and Mathematics Faculty (Box 1-3). The Committee on Maximizing the Potential of Women in Academic Science and Engineering also benefited from the expertise of the outside panelists and other participants in its convocation, held on December 9, 2005, in Washington, DC. A workshop report, Bio-

Suggested Citation:"1 Introduction." National Academy of Sciences, National Academy of Engineering, and Institute of Medicine. 2007. Beyond Bias and Barriers: Fulfilling the Potential of Women in Academic Science and Engineering. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/11741.
×

DEFINING THE ISSUES

BOX 1-2

Building Engineering and Science Talent: The CAWMSET and BEST Projects

The innovation economy is a major factor in job growth in the United States; jobs in this economy require some technical or scientific knowledge. Women, African-Americans, Hispanics, Native Americans, and persons with disabilities make up two-thirds of the overall workforce but hold only about one-fourth of the scientific and technical jobs.a

The Congressional Commission on the Advancement of Women and Minorities in Science, Engineering, and Technology (CAWMSET) Development was established in 1998 to examine the “barriers that exist for women, underrepresented minorities and persons with disabilities at different stages of the science, engineering, and technology (SET) pipeline.”b In September 2000 the Commission issued its report, Land of Plenty: Diversity as America’s Competitive Edge in Science, Engineering, and Technology.

Finding

Recommendation

  • Inadequacies in precollege education prevent access to high-quality science and mathematics education for minorities. A lack of role models and well-qualified teachers acts to discourage interest in SET careers.

  • Develop, implement, and adopt high-quality state-level math and science curricula and teacher-quality standards.

  • There are significant problems of access to higher education for underrepresented groups. These include lack of preparation, lack of encouragement, cost of attendance, and poor integration between 2-and 4-year colleges.

  • Develop aggressive intervention programs focused on the transition from high school to college.

  • Expand federal and state financial investment in the undergraduate and graduate education of under-represented groups.

  • The US workplace culture does not value underrepresented groups.

  • Hold employers accountable for the career development and advancement of all employees, including members of underrepresented groups.

  • The public image of scientists and engineers is inaccurate and derogatory. Women in particular do not receive adequate and accurate portrayal.

  • Establish a body to coordinate actions to transform the public image of SET careers.

To build upon the recommendations of CAWMSET, the Building Engineering and Science Talent (BEST) Initiative was launched in September 2001. The objective of BEST was to “convene the nation’s respected practitioners, researchers and policy makers, and identify what’s working across the country to develop the technical talent of under-represented groups in pre-K through 12, higher education, and the workplace.”c BEST produced three reports:

Suggested Citation:"1 Introduction." National Academy of Sciences, National Academy of Engineering, and Institute of Medicine. 2007. Beyond Bias and Barriers: Fulfilling the Potential of Women in Academic Science and Engineering. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/11741.
×
  • What it Takes: Pre-K-12 Design Principles to Broaden Participation in Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematicsd

  • A Bridge for All: Higher Education Design Principles to Broaden Participation in Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematicse

  • The Talent Imperative: Diversifying America’s Science and Engineering Workforcef

The BEST report, The Talent Imperative: Diversifying America’s Science and Engineering Workforce, focused on identifying principles and factors that underlie effective programs “developed to broaden the participation of women, underrepresented minorities and persons with disabilities in science, engineering, and technology.” It identifies several principles and best practices in K-12 education, higher education, and the workforce, including:

Higher Education

  • Institutional leadership. Leadership matters in creating successful programs. A commitment by administration and senior faculty helps to ensure that increasing participation is an essential part of successful higher education programs.

  • Targeted recruitment. Establishing and sustaining a feeder system can play an important role in increasing participation of underrepresented groups.

  • Engaged faculty. Faculty members should be engaged in diversifying student talent. Successful student outcomes are a measure of faculty performance.

  • Bridging to the next level. Successful programs build the relationships and skills needed for students to move through the educational system and on to career achievements.

  • Continuous evaluation. Successful programs continually evaluate their processes and outcomes.

Workforce

  • Sustained commitment to change. Successful workforce programs seek lasting change in organizations through comprehensive efforts at all levels.

  • Integrated organizational strategy. Stand-alone activities do not succeed. Successful programs are able to make diversity initiatives a seamless part of the organization’s operation.

  • Managerial accountability. Successful programs hold managers at all levels accountable for achieving diversity goals.

  • Continuous improvement. Successful programs include metrics to identify what is working and what is not working.

  

aCongressional Commission on the Advancement of Women and Minorities in Science, Engineering, and Technology Development (CAWMSET) (2000). Land of Plenty: Diversity as America’s Competitive Edge in Science, Engineering, and Technology, http://www.nsf.gov/pubs/2000/cawmset0409/cawmset_0409.pdf.

  

bCAWMSET (2000), ibid.

  

cThe BEST Initiative. http://www.bestworkforce.org/.

  

dPart 1: http://www.bestworkforce.org/PDFdocs/BESTPre-K-12Rep_part1_Apr2004.pdf; Part 2: http://www.bestworkforce.org/PDFdocs/BESTPre-K-12Rep_part2_Apr2004.pdf.

  

ehttp://www.bestworkforce.org/PDFdocs/BEST_BridgeforAll_HighEdFINAL.pdf.

  

fhttp://www.bestworkforce.org/PDFdocs/BESTTalentImperativeFINAL.pdf.

Suggested Citation:"1 Introduction." National Academy of Sciences, National Academy of Engineering, and Institute of Medicine. 2007. Beyond Bias and Barriers: Fulfilling the Potential of Women in Academic Science and Engineering. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/11741.
×

FOCUS ON RESEARCH

BOX 1-3

Committee on Women in Science and Engineering: Gender Differences in the Careers of Science, Engineering, and Mathematics Faculty

In response to a formal mandate from Congress, the Committee on Women in Science and Engineering (CWSE) and the Committee on National Statistics of the National Research Council conducted a study to assess sex differences in the careers of science, engineering, and mathematics faculty, focusing on major research institutions. The study builds on the previous work by CWSE and examines such issues as faculty hiring, promotion, tenure, and allocation of institutional resources including laboratory space.

The study committee performed departmental surveys and faculty surveys at the 89 Research I institutions.a CWSE surveyed 6 fields: biology, chemistry, civil engineering, electrical engineering, mathematics, and physics. In total, they distributed the survey to 492 departments with an 85% response rate, and about 1800 faculty with a 77% response rate. The departmental survey asked questions about department size, recent tenure-track hires, and applications, interviews, and first offers for those positions. It also asked about tenure and promotion. The faculty survey collected demographic information and asked about career milestones, productivity, professional activities, and institutional resources. In addition, the committee has collected and posted information on faculty and climate surveys performed at academic institutions across the United States.b

Because of timing, the Committee on Maximizing the Potential of Women in Academic Science and Engineering did not have an opportunity to review these survey results. Footnotes have been added in the text of this report to indicate where the forthcoming CWSE report may shed additional light on issues discussed.

  

aResearch I (R1) university was a category formerly used by the Carnegie Classification of Institutions of Higher Education to indicate those universities in the United States that received the highest amounts of federal science research funding. The category is, since 2000, obsolete, but the term is still widely used.

  

bSee http://www7.nationalacademies.org/cwse/gender_faculty_links.html.

logical, Social, and Organizational Components of Success for Women in Academic Science and Engineering (http://books.nap.edu/catalog/11766.html), published by the National Academies Press, details the proceedings of that event.

DEFINING THE ISSUES

This report is organized according to the major themes of the committee’s charge. Chapter 2 examines the research on learning and per-

Suggested Citation:"1 Introduction." National Academy of Sciences, National Academy of Engineering, and Institute of Medicine. 2007. Beyond Bias and Barriers: Fulfilling the Potential of Women in Academic Science and Engineering. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/11741.
×

formance to answer the question of whether cognitive differences between men and women exist and, if so, whether they form a basis for the differential success of men and women in science and engineering careers. Chapter 3 follows the education and career trajectory of scientists and engineers and examines the persistence and attrition of men and women from high school graduation through hiring to tenure as science and engineering faculty members. Chapter 4 examines how success is defined and evaluated in science and engineering and how gender schemas and discriminatory practices can affect evaluation of success. Chapter 5 examines academic institutions and how apparently gender-neutral policies interact with systematic constraints to disproportionately hinder the career progression of women scientists and engineers. Chapter 6 draws together the findings and shows why and what action should be taken to improve the career progression of women in science and engineering and concludes with a call to action.

Throughout the report, quotations, figures, tables, and boxes provide vignettes and additional data to illustrate the main points. Where possible, the committee broke out data by sex and by race or ethnicity. The boxes are organized into five categories: Controversies, Defining the Issues, Experiments and Strategies, Focus on Research, and Tracking and Evaluation. To assist universities in their efforts to remove the barriers that limit women’s participation in academic science and engineering, the committee has developed a scorecard that universities can use to evaluate their progress. It appears as a box in Chapter 6. Appendixes provide information on the committee and its charge and reprint a chapter discussing theories of discrimination from a 2005 National Academies report entitled Measuring Racial Discrimination.

As the committee’s deliberations progressed, it became increasingly clear that various cultural stereotypes and commonly held but unproven beliefs play major, frequently unacknowledged roles in the perception and treatment of women and their work in the scientific and engineering community. Those beliefs have often been cited as arguments against taking steps to improve the position of women in science and engineering or as reasons why such efforts are unnecessary, futile, or even harmful. To facilitate clear, evidence-based discussion of the issues, the committee compiled a list of commonly-held beliefs concerning women in science and engineering (Table S-1). Each is discussed and analyzed in detail in the text of the report.

The committee hopes that each of the actors involved in determining institutional culture and implementing relevant policies—universities, professional societies and higher education organizations, journals, federal funding agencies and foundations, federal agencies, and Congress—will give careful consideration to the extensive evidence supporting its findings and recommendations.

Suggested Citation:"1 Introduction." National Academy of Sciences, National Academy of Engineering, and Institute of Medicine. 2007. Beyond Bias and Barriers: Fulfilling the Potential of Women in Academic Science and Engineering. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/11741.
×
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Suggested Citation:"1 Introduction." National Academy of Sciences, National Academy of Engineering, and Institute of Medicine. 2007. Beyond Bias and Barriers: Fulfilling the Potential of Women in Academic Science and Engineering. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/11741.
×
Page14
Suggested Citation:"1 Introduction." National Academy of Sciences, National Academy of Engineering, and Institute of Medicine. 2007. Beyond Bias and Barriers: Fulfilling the Potential of Women in Academic Science and Engineering. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/11741.
×
Page15
Suggested Citation:"1 Introduction." National Academy of Sciences, National Academy of Engineering, and Institute of Medicine. 2007. Beyond Bias and Barriers: Fulfilling the Potential of Women in Academic Science and Engineering. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/11741.
×
Page16
Suggested Citation:"1 Introduction." National Academy of Sciences, National Academy of Engineering, and Institute of Medicine. 2007. Beyond Bias and Barriers: Fulfilling the Potential of Women in Academic Science and Engineering. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/11741.
×
Page17
Suggested Citation:"1 Introduction." National Academy of Sciences, National Academy of Engineering, and Institute of Medicine. 2007. Beyond Bias and Barriers: Fulfilling the Potential of Women in Academic Science and Engineering. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/11741.
×
Page18
Suggested Citation:"1 Introduction." National Academy of Sciences, National Academy of Engineering, and Institute of Medicine. 2007. Beyond Bias and Barriers: Fulfilling the Potential of Women in Academic Science and Engineering. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/11741.
×
Page19
Suggested Citation:"1 Introduction." National Academy of Sciences, National Academy of Engineering, and Institute of Medicine. 2007. Beyond Bias and Barriers: Fulfilling the Potential of Women in Academic Science and Engineering. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/11741.
×
Page20
Suggested Citation:"1 Introduction." National Academy of Sciences, National Academy of Engineering, and Institute of Medicine. 2007. Beyond Bias and Barriers: Fulfilling the Potential of Women in Academic Science and Engineering. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/11741.
×
Page21
Suggested Citation:"1 Introduction." National Academy of Sciences, National Academy of Engineering, and Institute of Medicine. 2007. Beyond Bias and Barriers: Fulfilling the Potential of Women in Academic Science and Engineering. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/11741.
×
Page22
Suggested Citation:"1 Introduction." National Academy of Sciences, National Academy of Engineering, and Institute of Medicine. 2007. Beyond Bias and Barriers: Fulfilling the Potential of Women in Academic Science and Engineering. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/11741.
×
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The United States economy relies on the productivity, entrepreneurship, and creativity of its people. To maintain its scientific and engineering leadership amid increasing economic and educational globalization, the United States must aggressively pursue the innovative capacity of all its people—women and men. However, women face barriers to success in every field of science and engineering; obstacles that deprive the country of an important source of talent. Without a transformation of academic institutions to tackle such barriers, the future vitality of the U.S. research base and economy are in jeopardy.

Beyond Bias and Barriers explains that eliminating gender bias in academia requires immediate overarching reform, including decisive action by university administrators, professional societies, federal funding agencies and foundations, government agencies, and Congress. If implemented and coordinated across public, private, and government sectors, the recommended actions will help to improve workplace environments for all employees while strengthening the foundations of America's competitiveness.

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