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gender equity studies and developed work-life policies for faculty and staff.6 An assessment of changes in faculty composition as well as policies and outcomes related to faculty careers is one step in evaluating these efforts.

Finally, where gender disparities exist and women are underrepresented among S&E faculty, negative consequences result that require policy solutions. Substantial resources go into producing a Ph.D. in S&E.7 The untapped potential of fully trained and credentialed women, as well as the women who are interested in S&E but choose not to pursue degrees because of obstacles, real or perceived, represents an important economic loss—one a competitive United States cannot afford. As Senator Ron Wyden (2003) stated:

A report from the Hart-Rudman Commission on National Security to 2025 warned that America’s failure to invest in science and to reform math and science education was the second biggest threat to our national security, greater than that from any conceivable conventional war. America will not remain the power it is in the world today, nor will our people be as healthy, as educated, or as prosperous as they should be, if we do not lead the world in scientific research and engineering development. To make our country better, to improve our national security and quality of life, we need to encourage people to go into these disciplines. Women represent a largely untapped resource in achieving this vital goal.

Similarly, Neal Lane, former Assistant to the President for Science and Technology, remarked to the Summit on Women in Engineering (1999) that “we simply need people with the best minds and skills, and many of those are women.” This view was echoed by leaders of nine top research universities in a meeting at MIT in 2001 to discuss women faculty in science and engineering. A joint statement issued by the participants noted, “Institutions of higher education have an obligation, both for themselves and for the nation, to fully develop and utilize all creative talent available. We recognize that barriers still exist to the full participation of women in science and engineering” (Campbell, 2001b).

A more inclusive workforce may be more innovative and productive than one which is less so. As Arden L. Bement, Jr., Director of the National Science Foundation, said in 2005:

Year by year, the economic imperative grows for broadening, empowering, and sharpening the skills of the entire U.S. workforce—just to remain competitive in the global community. This fresh talent is our most potent mechanism for technology transfer to our systems of innovation. Fortunately, we have a fount of untapped talent in our women, underrepresented minorities and persons with

6

For a list of gender equity studies conducted by Research I institutions, see the CWSEM Web site at http://www.nas.edu/cwsem.

7

The average annual support for a doctoral student is $50,000 according to a new study (NAS, NAE, and IOM, 2007). The average doctoral student takes 7 years to complete a Ph.D., suggesting support for a single student could be $350,000.



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