formance to answer the question of whether cognitive differences between men and women exist and, if so, whether they form a basis for the differential success of men and women in science and engineering careers. Chapter 3 follows the education and career trajectory of scientists and engineers and examines the persistence and attrition of men and women from high school graduation through hiring to tenure as science and engineering faculty members. Chapter 4 examines how success is defined and evaluated in science and engineering and how gender schemas and discriminatory practices can affect evaluation of success. Chapter 5 examines academic institutions and how apparently gender-neutral policies interact with systematic constraints to disproportionately hinder the career progression of women scientists and engineers. Chapter 6 draws together the findings and shows why and what action should be taken to improve the career progression of women in science and engineering and concludes with a call to action.
Throughout the report, quotations, figures, tables, and boxes provide vignettes and additional data to illustrate the main points. Where possible, the committee broke out data by sex and by race or ethnicity. The boxes are organized into five categories: Controversies, Defining the Issues, Experiments and Strategies, Focus on Research, and Tracking and Evaluation. To assist universities in their efforts to remove the barriers that limit women’s participation in academic science and engineering, the committee has developed a scorecard that universities can use to evaluate their progress. It appears as a box in Chapter 6. Appendixes provide information on the committee and its charge and reprint a chapter discussing theories of discrimination from a 2005 National Academies report entitled Measuring Racial Discrimination.
As the committee’s deliberations progressed, it became increasingly clear that various cultural stereotypes and commonly held but unproven beliefs play major, frequently unacknowledged roles in the perception and treatment of women and their work in the scientific and engineering community. Those beliefs have often been cited as arguments against taking steps to improve the position of women in science and engineering or as reasons why such efforts are unnecessary, futile, or even harmful. To facilitate clear, evidence-based discussion of the issues, the committee compiled a list of commonly-held beliefs concerning women in science and engineering (Table S-1). Each is discussed and analyzed in detail in the text of the report.
The committee hopes that each of the actors involved in determining institutional culture and implementing relevant policies—universities, professional societies and higher education organizations, journals, federal funding agencies and foundations, federal agencies, and Congress—will give careful consideration to the extensive evidence supporting its findings and recommendations.