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WHO WILL DO THE SCIENCE OF THE FUTURE?: A SYMPOSIUM ON CAREERS OF WOMEN IN SCIENCE
terminology. I think the truth is these women are not being supported in the fashion that would make it possible for them to succeed.
Therefore, I would like to make the following suggestion, that some kind of an experiment be carried out, and in view of Lilian's interesting ideas, I am even going to change what my suggestion (before she had gotten toward the end of hers) was going to be. That some department somewhere establish a computer or a subcomputer organization that has more female faculty than male, that you let people study under that environment, and see who has the crisis of confidence.
But I believe, and I think all of us who have looked at the statistics believe what Lilian said, and that is that industry has done a better job than academia in supporting women.
So, now, I wonder whether industry and perhaps even IBM could set up an academic division, in which anyone could come and teach, but again, where a significant number of the faculty are women. So, that is a question, if you want to answer.
Response: Dr. Wu: I have a reaction. About 10 years ago, right before I joined the Committee on Women in Science and Engineering, I would say that industry, at that point, wasn't so great. It was pretty much the way I would say what I hear from my colleagues in the academic world, the same kinds of problems, the same kinds of chilly atmosphere, and it has only been in the past 5 years could I really comfortably say that, you know, the atmosphere is quite different, and it has changed to be an atmosphere that is supportive.
I think there are a number of reasons for that in IBM, but I think that the change is real, and the appreciation for what women can actually bring to technology is one that is really real.
So, I am actually quite optimistic that once all of the very, very bright people start thinking about this, and if you do come to the conclusion that it really is something that makes sense, that things will happen because it happened at IBM in my own experience very, very quickly. Once it was recognized, once it was believed that this is something good, we really changed the atmosphere around.
So, it can happen quite fast.
Response: Dr. Wulf: I think this is a fascinating idea. I was listening to Lilian and trying to map the notion of fast change onto any of the academic departments I know of.
I don't want to go there, okay?
Participant: I am compelled to say that it is 1999, and the legislation, the laws banning discrimination changed, what, 20 years ago? The number of Ph.D.s in physics and astronomy has been 10 percent for 100 years, and in the last 10 years the National Academy of Sciences has elected 2 percent women.
Things are not changing in the Academy, and I laughed at the notion of if working women, for example, are catalysts doing the survey in academia what they provide in terms of child care and maternity leave, support structures, I laugh at that notion. It would be so hysterical to see what they would find.
My experience is that, I am an academic astronomer, these universities have no interest in general. Rice is probably a small exception.