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Suggested Citation:"Front Matter." National Research Council. 1991. Women in Science and Engineering: Increasing Their Numbers in the 1990s: A Statement on Policy and Strategy. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/1878.
×

WOMEN IN SCIENCE AND ENGINEERING:

Increasing Their Numbers in the 1990s

A Statement on Policy and Strategy
from the

Committee on Women in Science and Engineering

Office of Scientific and Engineering Personnel

National Research Council

NATIONAL ACADEMY PRESS
Washington, D.C. 1991

Suggested Citation:"Front Matter." National Research Council. 1991. Women in Science and Engineering: Increasing Their Numbers in the 1990s: A Statement on Policy and Strategy. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/1878.
×

National Academy Press
2101 Constitution Avenue, NW Washington, DC 20418

NOTICE: The project that is the subject of this report was approved by the Governing Board of the National Research Council, whose members are drawn from the councils of the National Academy of Sciences, the National Academy of Engineering, and the Institute of Medicine.

This report has been reviewed by persons other than the author according to procedures approved by a Report Review Committee consisting of members of the National Academy of Sciences, the National Academy of Engineering, and the Institute of Medicine.

The National Academy of Sciences is a private, nonprofit, self-perpetuating society of distinguished scholars engaged in a scientific and engineering research, dedicated to the furtherance of science and technology and to their use for the general welfare. Upon the authority of the charter granted to it by the Congress in 1963, the Academy has a mandate that requires it to advise the federal government on scientific and technical matters. Dr. Frank Press is president of the National Academy of Sciences.

The National Academy of Engineering was established in 1964, under the charter of the National Academy of Sciences, as a parallel organization of outstanding engineers. It is autonomous in its administration and in the selection of its members, sharing with the National Academy of Sciences the responsibility for advising the federal government. The National Academy of Engineering also sponsors engineering programs aimed at meeting national needs, encourages education and research, and recognizes the superior achievements of engineers. Dr. Robert M. White is president of the National Academy of Engineering.

The Institute of Medicine was established in 1970 by the National Academy of Sciences to secure the services of eminent members of appropriate professions in the examination of policy matters pertaining to the health of the public. The Institute acts under the responsibility given to the National Academy of Sciences by its congressional charter to be an adviser to the federal government and, upon its own initiative, to identify issues of medical care, research, and education. Dr. Stuart Bondurant is acting president of the Institute of Medicine.

The National Research Council was organized by the National Academy of Sciences in 1916 to associate the broad community of science and technology with the Academy’s purposes of furthering knowledge and advising the federal government. Functioning in accordance with general policies determined by the Academy, the Council has become the principal operating agency of both the National Academy of Sciences and the National Academy of Engineering in providing services to the government, the public, and the scientific and engineering communities. The Council is administered jointly by both Academies and the Institute of Medicine. Dr. Frank Press and Dr. Robert M. White are chairman and vice chairman, respectively, of the National Research Council.

This report is based upon work supported in part by the National Academy of Engineering Technology Agenda Program, Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, Alfred P. Sloan Foundation, IBM Corporation, Xerox Corporation, and the following federal agencies: Department of Commerce, Department of Energy, Department of Veterans Affairs, National Aeronautics and Space Administration, and National Science Foundation.

Library of Congress Catalog Card No. 91-66811

International Standard Book Number 0-309-04595-9

S463

Copyright ©1991 by the National Academy of Sciences

No part of this book may be reproduced by any mechanical, photographic, or electronic process or in the form of a phonographic recording, nor may it be stored in a retrieval system, transmitted, or otherwise copied for public or private use, without written permission from the publisher, except for the purposes of official use by the United States Government.

Printed in the United States of America

Suggested Citation:"Front Matter." National Research Council. 1991. Women in Science and Engineering: Increasing Their Numbers in the 1990s: A Statement on Policy and Strategy. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/1878.
×

COMMITTEE ON WOMEN IN SCIENCE AND ENGINEERING

* MILDRED S. DRESSELHAUS,

Massachusetts Institute of Technology,

Chair

BETSY ANCKER-JOHNSON,

General Motors Corporation

GEORGE CAMPBELL, JR.,

National Action Council for Minorities in Engineering

* JEWEL PLUMMER COBB,

California State University—Los Angeles

* ESTHER M. CONWELL,

Xerox Corporation`

BRUCE ANDREW FOWLER,

University of Maryland Medical School

LILLI S. HORNIG,

Wellesley College

PAT HILL HUBBARD,

American Electronics Association

SHIRLEY A. JACKSON,

AT&T Bell Laboratories

* THOMAS E. MALONE,

Association of American Medical Colleges

CORA B. MARRETT,

University of Wisconsin——Madison

* MARSHA LAKES MATYAS,

American Association for the Advancement of Science

GIAN-CARLO ROTA,

Massachusetts Institute of Technology

* GARRISON SPOSITO,

University of California——Berkeley

KAREN K. UHLENBECK,

University of Texas——Austin

Staff Officer Linda Dix

Senior Secretary: Gaelyn Davidson

*

Members of the Panel on Strategic Planning

Suggested Citation:"Front Matter." National Research Council. 1991. Women in Science and Engineering: Increasing Their Numbers in the 1990s: A Statement on Policy and Strategy. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/1878.
×

OFFICE OF SCIENTIFIC AND ENGINEERING PERSONNEL ADVISORY COMMITTEE ON STUDIES AND ANALYSES

LINDA S. WILSON,

Radcliffe College,

Chair

JOHN PATRICK CRECINE,

Georgia Institute of Technology

LESTER A. HOEL,

University of Virginia

ERNEST JAWORKSI,

Monsanto Company

DANIEL KLEPPNER,

Massachusetts Institute of Technology

ALAN S. RABSON,

Division of Cancer Biology and Diagnosis, National Institutes of Health

BRUCE SMITH,

Center for Public Policy Education, The Brookings Institution

Ex Officio

WILLIAM H. MILLER,

University of California——Berkeley

Executive Director: Alan Fechter

Associate Executive Director: Claudia Dissel

Director of Studies and Surveys Unit: Pamela Ebert Flattau

Suggested Citation:"Front Matter." National Research Council. 1991. Women in Science and Engineering: Increasing Their Numbers in the 1990s: A Statement on Policy and Strategy. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/1878.
×

FOREWORD

From time to time, it is necessary to alert the research and policy communities to opportunities for action in areas of mutual concern. One such area is the participation and utilization of women in science and engineering in the United States. The underparticipation of women in these fields is a matter of record; the understanding that something might be done to bring qualified women into productive careers as researchers, teachers, and practitioners of science and engineering prompted the National Research Council (NRC) in 1990 to establish the Committee on Women in Science and Engineering (CWSE) within the Office of Scientific and Engineering Personnel (OSEP). The Committee met for the first time in 1991 and quickly developed a plan of action——a strategic plan——for effecting change. That plan is the subject of this report.

In developing its strategic plan, the Committee on Women in Science and Engineering began its work by surveying the global policy environment, including politics affecting the employment and education of women in science and engineering. Rates of participation of women in science and engineering have been found to be affected significantly by economic globalization and demographic factors. That is, employers confronting dramatic shifts in the comparative advantage of U.S. industries in an international marketplace are increasingly motivated to maximize the productivity of an increasingly diverse R&D work force. For women with an interest in industry-based careers, the growing emphasis on "diversity for economic productivity' may actually create a positive climate for their employment——representing a significant change from earlier conditions. Whereas demographic trends have created more opportunities for women in industry, fewer positive changes are evident in the employment of female scientists and engineers in academe and in the public (government) sector. Rates of advancement continue to be quite low compared to the advancement of men, although the reasons for the differences are complex and diverse.

The Committee on Women in Science and Engineering tackles these issues head on. They do so by exploring the capacity of the education infrastructure to prepare women for careers in science and engineering and follow that discussion by exploring the factors that determine how a skilled female scientist or engineer pursues a career——the comparative role of

Suggested Citation:"Front Matter." National Research Council. 1991. Women in Science and Engineering: Increasing Their Numbers in the 1990s: A Statement on Policy and Strategy. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/1878.
×

postdoctoral training and the issues surrounding the advancement of women in various employment sectors.

A wide spectrum of programs has been introduced to assist women to gain entry into science and engineering through intervention efforts at various stages of education and employment. As the Committee points out, however, the absence of systematic and reliable information on the effects of these interventions represents a major barrier to the evaluation of policies and intervention programs fostering careers for women in science and engineering. Thus, the Committee has begun to shape its plan of action based on a call for increased information and more rigorous analysis.

The success of any strategic plan will depend on at least two factors: a dear statement of the program goals and the specification of an effective plan to achieve those goals. The Committee on Women in Science and Engineering has taken an important first step by outlining its strategy for the foreseeable future, for which they are commended. Because the Committee does not act alone, but rather responds to the concerns of its various sponsors and other partners in this effort, we can look forward to an increasingly rich program of activities from the Committee in coming years as it establishes itself firmly in the research and policy world.

Linda Wilson

Chair

OSEP Advisory Committee on Studies and Analyses

Suggested Citation:"Front Matter." National Research Council. 1991. Women in Science and Engineering: Increasing Their Numbers in the 1990s: A Statement on Policy and Strategy. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/1878.
×

PREFACE AND ACKNOWLEDGMENTS

The Committee on Women in Science and Engineering (CWSE), a continuing committee established within the National Research Council (NRC) in January 1991, has a four-pronged mandate to:

  1. collect and disseminate current data about the participation of women in science and engineering to broad constituencies in academe, government, industry, and professional societies;

  2. monitor the progress of efforts to increase the participation of women in scientific and engineering careers;

  3. conduct symposia, workshops, and other meetings of experts to explore the policy environment, to stimulate and encourage initiatives in program development for women in science and engineering, and to evaluate their effectiveness on a regular basis; and

  4. propose research and conduct special studies on issues particularly relevant to women scientists and engineers in order to develop reports that will document evidence and articulate NRC recommendations for action.

CWSE activities will focus on the participation of women in science and engineering at the postsecondary level of education and in various employment sectors.

This report is the culmination of an initial examination by CWSE of the status of women scientists and engineers in the United States. In addition to providing statistics on the participation of women in the education/ employment pipeline, it summarizes the Committee's deliberations relating to its role in increasing the participation and improving the status of women in science and engineering. The report further offers an ambitious strategic plan of both short-term and long-term activities. As evidenced by the comprehensiveness of this first report, issued within its first year of operation, the Committee on Women in Science and Engineering has taken a proactive stance in this arena. By stimulating research on issues relevant to women scientists and engineers, by establishing study panels that can explore some subset of these issues in greater depth, and by briefing appropriate officials on matters leading to the development of programs for women in science and engineering, this Committee plans to keep the issue of women's participation in science and engineering at the forefront.

Page viii Cite
Suggested Citation:"Front Matter." National Research Council. 1991. Women in Science and Engineering: Increasing Their Numbers in the 1990s: A Statement on Policy and Strategy. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/1878.
×

The Committee on Women in Science and Engineering appreciates the assistance that it received from a number of individuals. The earlier Planning Group on Possible OSEP Initiatives for Increasing the Participation of Women in Scientific and Engineering Careers laid the groundwork for this Committee: William O. Baker, Jewel Plummet Cobb, Edward E. David, Mildred S. Dresselhaus, Marsha Lakes Matyas, Karen K. Uhlenbeck, and Harriet Zuckerman. Valuable advice was received from OSEP's former chairman, William D. Carey, and from Esther M. Conwell, who served as the liaison to the Planning Group from OSEP's Advisory Committee on Studies and Analyses.

Initial financial support was provided by the National Academy of Engineering and the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, through the efforts of Bruce Guile and Harriet Zuckerman, respectively. In addition, representatives from other sponsoring organizations have assisted the Committee in its development of the strategic plan found in Chapter 6 of this report: Charles R. Bowen, director of plans and program administration, Office of University Relations, IBM Corporation; Butt H. Colvin, director for academic affairs, National Institute of Standards and Technology, Department of Commerce; Margaret G. Finarelli, associate administrator for external affairs, and Frank Owens, manager of special projects in resources and management, National Aeronautics and Space Administration; Marguerite Hays, administrator for research, VA Medical Center-Palo Alto, Department of Veterans Affairs; Margrete S. Klein, director of women's programs, Division of Research Initiation and Improvement, National Science Foundation; Mark Myers, vice president for corporate research, Xerox Corporation; and Richard E. Stephens, director of university and industry programs, Office of Energy Research, Department of Energy.

We hope that the efforts of the many individuals involved in this exploratory examination of the current status of women in science and engineering in the United States will clarify the issues and assist policy makers, researchers, and institutions of both education and employment in developing their agenda for increasing the participation of women in these disciplines during the next decade.

Mildred S. Dresselhaus

Chairman

Suggested Citation:"Front Matter." National Research Council. 1991. Women in Science and Engineering: Increasing Their Numbers in the 1990s: A Statement on Policy and Strategy. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/1878.
×

LIST OF TABLES

1:

Civilian Employment of Scientists, Engineers, and Technicians (SET), by Field, 1986 and 2000

8

2:

Bachelor's Degrees in Science and Engineering as Percentage of All Baccalaureates Awarded, Selected Years, 1972-1989

12

3:

Ph.D.s Awarded by U.S. Universities to Non-U.S. Citizens, 1989

15

4:

Science and Engineering Degrees Granted to Women, by Degree Level, 1986 and 1989

18

5:

Degrees to Women in Physics and Women as Physics Faculty (in percent)

21

6:

Employers of Doctorate Recipients in Science and Engineering, by Sex, 1989

23

7:

Academic Ranks of All U.S. Doctorate Recipients in Science and Engineering, 1989

25

8:

College Major Field of Study of 1980 High School Seniors Who Had Graduated from College by 1986, by Intended Field of Study in High School and by Sex (in percent)

31

9:

1980 High School Seniors Who Graduated from College by 1986, by Major Field of Study and by Race/Ethnicity and Sex

32

10:

Top 25 Science and Engineering Degree-Granting Institutions, 1980-1990 (all graduates)

34

11:

Top Five Baccalaureate Institutions of Female Science and Engineering Doctorate Recipients, by Field of Doctorate, 1985-1990

36

12:

Percentage Distribution of Primary Sources of Support of Doctorate Recipients, by Sex and Broad Field, 1987 and 1989

38

13:

NSF Graduate Fellowship Program Applications and Awards, by Sex, 1985 and 1990

40

14:

NSF Minority Graduate Fellowship Program Applications and Awards by Sex, 1985 and 1990

44

15:

Postgraduation Plans of Science and Engineering Doctorates (U.S. citizens only), 1985-1989

73

16:

Reasons Given for Not Being Employed Full-Time by Science and Engineering Doctorate Recipients, 1989

78

17:

Tenure Status of All U.S. Doctorate Recipients in Science and Engineering, 1989

81

18:

Numbers of Women Employed in S&E Fields, by Race/Ethnicity: 1982-1986

96

Suggested Citation:"Front Matter." National Research Council. 1991. Women in Science and Engineering: Increasing Their Numbers in the 1990s: A Statement on Policy and Strategy. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/1878.
×

A:

Top 25 Science and Engineering Degree-Granting Institutions, 1980-1990 (men only)

128

B:

NSF Graduate Fellowship Program Applications and Awards, by Sex, 1985-1991

130

C:

NSF Graduate Fellowship Program Applications by Women, by Ethnic Group, 1989-1991

134

D:

NSF Graduate Fellowship Program Awards to Women, by Ethnic Group, 1989-1991

136

E:

NSF Minority Graduate Fellowship Program Applications by Women, by Ethnic Group, 1989-1991

138

F:

NSF Minority Graduate Fellowship Program Awards to Women, by Ethnic Group, 1989-1991

140

LIST OF FIGURES

1.

Science and engineering (S&E) pipeline, from high school through Ph.D. degree,

10

2.

U.S. population, aged 18-24, 1970-1988, and projected, 1990-2010 (in thousands),

11

3.

High and low estimates of the number of new Ph.D. faculty hires in the sciences and engineering, every five years, 1980-2015,

13

4.

U.S. and foreign engineering faculty, age 35 or less, 1973-1989,

14

5.

Percentage of women among employed scientists and engineers, by field, 1986,

20

6.

Women doctorates in science and engineering jobs, by field, 1973 and 1985,

22

7.

Women, blacks, and Hispanics in the federal work force, 1988 (in percent),

26

8.

S/E underemployment rates of men and women, by field, 1986,

77

9.

Average annual employment growth by sector of employment and sex, 1976-86,

83

10.

Average annual employment growth rate of scientists and engineers, by field and sex, 1978-1988,

84

Suggested Citation:"Front Matter." National Research Council. 1991. Women in Science and Engineering: Increasing Their Numbers in the 1990s: A Statement on Policy and Strategy. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/1878.
×
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Suggested Citation:"Front Matter." National Research Council. 1991. Women in Science and Engineering: Increasing Their Numbers in the 1990s: A Statement on Policy and Strategy. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/1878.
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From time to time, it is necessary to alert the research and policy communities to opportunities for action in areas of mutual concern. One such area is the participation and utilization of women in science and engineering in the United States.

This book explores the underparticipation of women in these fields and presents a strategic plan to bring qualified women into such careers as researchers, teachers, and practitioners of science and engineering.

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