Women in science


I saw a plot yesterday in the latest edition of physics world, a publication of the UK institute of physics. It showed that the ratio of males to females in science is almost 50/50 at high school level. This drops dramatically at college, and grad school level, such that when it comes to filling faculty posts, the ratio of males to females is 95-5. So why the sudden drop?

One theory is that is a self fulfilling prophecy. There are few women at faculty level hence female students have no role models and do not see career prospects. Another theory is the teaching of the more mathematical sciences is still carried out in a didactic linear fashion that men seem to respond to better ( or least, “less worse”). Studies in china and india, where they have lots of females science students entering grad school, but few female faculty, suggest the the second reason may be more correct.

Either way, it is clear we need to entice more top quality female students into science.