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Women in the Chemical Workforce: A WORKSHOP REPORT TO THE CHEMICAL SCIENCES ROUNDTABLE
where and let it collect dust. Don't put it in a drawer. Don't put it in a pile on your desk. Take that handout and make it a priority to contact one person from that list and start a network. If you don't have a network where you are, start making one. Stop taking this kind of thing.
This goes back to mentoring, too. Find one person in your department or in your community that you can mentor. If you need a mentor, find one. I was going to ask, Where were you when I was in grad school? Where were you when I was an undergrad and I really needed you? But the truth of the matter is, I still need you now. I am early in my career, and I could use a mentor—a better mentor, maybe, than I've had in the past. I have had a lot of men who haven't taken an interest in my career, and now I have butted my head against some of these glass ceiling issues, partly because I haven't taken advantage of a mentor.
That's what I am going to do for myself, and then network, network, network. Get out there and do something about it. And, if you say that language makes a difference, make a commitment to use “he or she” and inclusive language yourself. And stand up for your colleagues. If one of the women in your department has a problem, make sure you stand behind her. We are all guilty at times of saying, “I had it hard. She should have it hard, too.” It doesn't have to be that way.
If we want to encourage people to stay and we want to retain young women, especially talented young women, we had better get behind them and push. If it's true that the pipeline is absolutely fine, then let's get some caulk and patch the cracks.
Jong-On Hahm, National Research Council: It may be that the pipeline is a problem. Retention is a particularly acute problem for chemical engineering at least; I saw a statistic a couple of years ago indicating that chemical engineering had the lowest rate of participation in the engineering workforce by its women graduates. It was only half, and this was the lowest of all engineering fields. So, if 25 percent of the degrees were going to women, only 12 percent were working in the chemical engineering field, and again this was the lowest of all the engineering fields. If somebody could give me a good explanation, that would be wonderful.
E. Ann Nalley, Cameron University: I'll tell you where those women are: They have husbands who have jobs. They are not mobile. They don't go to the big chemical companies; they go to the small companies—there are lots of small chemical companies in Oklahoma, in Kansas, and in New Mexico. They are the chemists at the wastewater treatment plant. They don't get surveyed. And they are not members of the American Chemical Society.
I am on the ACS Board of Directors and I have tried to recruit them, but they don't see that they need to be members. They are out there, but they cannot move, and they cannot go to the big companies. They don't go on to graduate school, although most of the people who graduate with B.S. degrees in chemistry are practicing chemists. They are the Texas State chemists. They don't get paid very well, but they do have jobs in chemistry, and I wish somehow we could include them in our survey.
I agree, also, that we need the pipeline to be expanding. If we don 't get the young girls into it, then our pipeline is shrinking, not expanding. I don't agree that the pipeline is full. It has a long way to go before it is full.
Shannon Davis: I have to agree with Ann. I would love to see those people included in the surveys, because the more research I did the more concerned I got. I think the pipeline ought to continually grow bigger and bigger; but I really also want to applaud the woman who said, “Let 's go find some caulk.” Let's go find some caulk, folks.