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in science and engineering are immensely rewarding, and all Americans should have the opportunity to participate—it’s what America is all about.”


The concern that inequities still exist, as well as the need for empirical evidence to conduct a search for disparities, prompted this study. In 2002, Senator Ron Wyden (D-Oregon), of the Subcommittee on Science, Technology and Space of the U.S. Senate Committee on Commerce, Science and Transportation convened three hearings on the subject of women studying and working in science, mathematics, engineering, and technology.9 Soon after, Congress directed the NSF to contract with the National Academies for a study assessing gender differences in the careers of science and engineering faculty, based on both existing and new data.10

To meet this charge, the National Academies appointed an ad hoc study committee—the Committee on Gender Differences in Careers of Science, Engineering, and Mathematics Faculty—to examine this issue under the auspices of the Committee on Women in Science and Engineering (CWSE) and the Committee on National Statistics (CNSTAT). (Appendix 1-1 identifies the members of the study committee and describes their areas of expertise.) The committee was guided by the following statement of task:

An ad hoc committee will conduct a study to assess gender differences in the careers of science, engineering, and mathematics (SEM) faculty, focusing on four-year institutions of higher education that award bachelor’s and graduate degrees. The study will build on the Academy’s previous work and examine issues such as faculty hiring, promotion, tenure, and allocation of institutional resources including (but not limited to) laboratory space.



The committee interpreted its charge to include three goals: (1) to update earlier analyses with newer information, (2) to provide a more thorough understanding of the scope of potential gender differences in S&E faculty, and (3) to recommend methods for further informing or clarifying assumptions about gender and academic careers. Establishing causes for any observed differences, while an


See Statement of Senator Ron Wyden, Hearing on Title IX and Science, U.S. Senate Committee on Commerce, Science and Transportation, October 3, 2002.


In addition to this activity, the Government Accountability Office was asked to complete a study on Title IX (GAO, 2004), and the RAND Corporation conducted a study on gender differences in federal funding (Hosek et al., 2005).

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