FIGURE 6.1 Percentage of chemistry degrees earned by women from 1967 to 1999. SOURCE: These figures are derived from the yearly starting salary surveys performed by the American Chemical Society. The figures for 1999 appeared in Chemical & Engineering News, March 13, 2000.

In a recent study of the paradox of the critical-mass issue,5 the authors cited a suggestion from B. Lazarus, a representative of WISE (Women in Science and Engineering), who advocated that the National Science Foundation (NSF) cut off grants to those universities that don't have a minimum number of female faculty in their science and engineering departments. That is a pretty drastic suggestion, but one can make it more drastic—cut off not just NSF funding but all federal funding.6

THE QUESTION UNDER CONSIDERATION

Should federal funds—not just NSF-derived, not just NIH (National Institutes of Health)-derived funds, but all federal funds—be withheld from those universities that do not increase their faculty hires to reflect the diversity of today's pool of U.S.-granted chemistry Ph.D.s?7 As seen in Figure 6.1, women composed one-third of that pool in 1999 and have been present at more than 20 percent since 1985. Despite that year-in, year-out production of talent, NSF reported in 1998 that only 12.5 percent of the senior faculty (associate and full professors) in the natural sciences and engineering at U.S. universities and 4-year colleges were women.8

5  

Henry Etzkowitz, Carol Kemelgor, Michael Neuschatz, Brian Uzzi, and Joseph Alonzo, “The paradox of critical mass for women in science, ” Science, 1994, 266, 51.

6  

Debra R. Rolison, “A Title IX challenge,” Chemical & Engineering News, 13 March 2000, 78(11), p. 5.

7  

Debra R. Rolison, “A Title IX challenge,” Chemical & Engineering News, 13 March 2000, 78(11), p. 5.

8  

National Science Foundation. Women, Minorities, and Persons with Disabilities in Science and Engineering: 1998. NSF 99-338, Arlington, VA, 1999.



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