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Women in Science and Engineering: Increasing their Numbers in the 1990s TECHNICAL APPENDIX The National Research Council (NRC) has a long and distinguished record of involvement in activities designed to increase the rate of participation of women in scientific and engineering careers. Recognition of the need to secure the fuller participation of women in the sciences and engineering and the role of NRC in achieving that end was one of the concerns in the 1972 establishment of the Commission on Human Resources, evidenced by the inclusion in its organizational plan of a committee to identify and work toward the solution of problems related to the education and employment of women in science and engineering. From 1973 until 1982, studies by the Committee on the Education and Employment of Women in Science and Engineering (CEEWISE) contributed significantly to an understanding of the issues involved.8 Since 1981 the Committee on Women's Employment and Related Social Issues (WERSI) within NRC's Commission on Behavioral and Social Science and Education (CBASSE) has reviewed, assessed, and encouraged research in the area of women's employment and brought research findings to bear on the policymaking process. Highlights of a meeting convened by 8 Among the CEEWISE reports are Women Scientists in Industry and Government: How Much Progress in the 1970's? (1980), Career Outcomes in a Matched Sample of Men and Women Ph.D.s: An Analytical Report (1981), and Climbing the Ladder: An Update on the Status of Doctoral Women Scientists and Engineers (1983).
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Women in Science and Engineering: Increasing their Numbers in the 1990s CBASSE in 1983 and chaired by Mary L. Good, current chair of the National Science Board, are given here:9 In his introductory remarks, Robert White, president of the National Academy of Engineering, noted the importance of reexamining the situation of women in science and engineering, ''since there have been significant changes in the proportion of women in the ... profession over the past few years.'' Shirley Malcom, director of the Office of Opportunities at the American Association for the Advancement of Science, gave a keynote address on the main issue, emphasizing "We're better off than we've ever been, but we are not as well off as we ought to be. How do we get to the next step?" Edward A. Knapp, then director of the National Science Foundation, spoke of the difficulty "not with getting women in [science and engineering], but with helping women move up in their careers." James Hirsch, president of the Josiah Macy, Jr., Foundation, discussed the Foundation's support of programs to encourage women to enter scientific and engineering disciplines (beginning in the 1960s) and noted "that the reasons for career under-achievement [should] be given a high priority in future work." Jean Fetter, associate dean for graduate studies at Stanford University, focused on graduate enrollment, degree completion, and employment of women in science and engineering, suggesting that further study of their role in industry be examined. Gertrude Goldhaber, Brookhaven National Laboratory, "suggested 9 Quotations appearing in this section. were taken from an unpublished summary of the CBASSE planning meeting on women in science and engineering, September 9, 1983.
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Women in Science and Engineering: Increasing their Numbers in the 1990s that future work in this area examine the conditions that enable women to contribute the most to science, ... [recommending] the early encouragement of boys and girls in scientific activities, a review of hiring and tenure rules, and the continuation of the data base on women Ph.D.s in science." Lilli S. Hornig "recommended that a new committee [on women in science and engineering] develop a strong policy focus [and that] the Academy should also consider making public statements about these issues." At the same meeting, other suggestions focused on players, policy issues, studies, structure, and priorities: There should be a "high-level statement on the part of the Academy regarding women in science and engineering concerns," continued attention to career advancement issues, and consideration of the impact of teacher preparation. Career advancement is a critical issue. The new committee "should focus on practical, policy-oriented, comparative research, coupled with dissemination to policy makers. ... The committee and its funding should be organized around issues: access, advancement, effects of technological changes on women, and data maintenance and acquisition." Committee "membership should include representatives from the following categories: (1) senior people who make science policy decisions, (2) personnel directors from industry, (3) academe, (4) sophisticated social scientists, (5) research directors in institutions, (6) statisticians, (7) government, and (8) media." The committee should have two roles: "(a) research and infor-
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Women in Science and Engineering: Increasing their Numbers in the 1990s mation and (b) advocacy.... The need for a center for research on women in science and engineering was underlined." Studies undertaken by the committee should deal with "access, attrition, and advancement." The underrepresentation of women in science and engineering was identified as a problem that WERSI should address, and women from scientific and engineering professions were appointed to the committee and its working panels to undertake several relevant studies: Women's Work; Men's Work: Sex Segregation on the Job (1986) reviewed women's position in the labor market and documented both changes and stability in job segregation over the past two decades. That report indicates the negative consequences for women of continued sex segregation in the workplace; evaluates several explanations for continued job segregation; addresses the effectiveness of remedies that have been attempted at both the public and private level; and offers several policy recommendations to reduce segregation. Sex Segregation in the Workplace: Trends, Explanations, and Remedies (1988) further addresses various aspects of job segregation. These reports also identified some of the structural barriers to increasing the participation of girls and women in science and mathematics. Computer Chips and Paper Clips: Technology and Women's Employment (1986) was most concerned with these changes as they are transforming clerical work. Pay Equity: Empirical Inquiries (1989) contained the research of 11
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Women in Science and Engineering: Increasing their Numbers in the 1990s small-scale studies on the wage determination process and comparable worth policies. Work and Family: Policies for a Changing Workforce (1991) synthesized and evaluated the research in three major areas: (1) the effects of different employer policies (e.g., scheduling policies, benefit policies, leave policies, etc.) on working families; (2) the effects of employees' family circumstances (e.g., dual-earner versus female-headed) and responsibilities (e.g., child care and elder care responsibilities) on their work availability, commitment, and performance; and (3) the factors that influence employers to adopt new, family-related policies (e.g., size, industry, economic conditions). Subsequently, when NRC was reorganized in 1984 and activities of the Commission on Human Resources were transferred to the Office of Scientific and Engineering Personnel (OSEP), interest in this issue remained. OSEP was charged with the responsibility for activities of NRC that contribute to the more effective development and utilization of the nation's human resources, giving emphasis to national education and manpower utilization programs and needs. Other units of NRC have also been interested in enhancing the progress of women in the sciences and engineering, however. For instance, at a three-day conference in 1984, the Transportation Research Board (TRB) examined the role of women to examine ways to meet the challenges associated with transportation education and training.10 Among the 10 See, for instance, Lillian C. Liburdi, Education and Training Needs of Women in Transportation, a paper prepared for the Transportation Research Board, 1984.
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Women in Science and Engineering: Increasing their Numbers in the 1990s papers commissioned on this topic was "Education and Training Needs of Women in Transportation" by Lillian C. Liburdi of the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey. Beginning with a basic premise—— in the competitive, deregulated, economic environment that transportation faces today, with the international pressures to continue achieving the type of growth experienced in the past, businesses must capitalize strategically on all of the resources at their disposal Dr. Liburdi stressed the need for greater research on the role of women in the transportation field. She particularly noted the need for studies "assessing the skills that contribute to a successful transportation career and analyzing the career paths of successful male transportation managers in order "to generate clues about career paths ... useful for role modeling and as a foundation for career planning for women in transportation" (TRB, 1985). Citing discussion at the September 1983 meeting organized by CBASSE, Dr. Liburdi noted that studies of career choice and development patterns of men and women in science and engineering—— including family conflict, residual barriers resulting from sex bias, and successful institutional policies to reduce barriers to participation by women in science and engineering——should be the focus of research. In summary, she presented seven initiatives that should be considered: conduct a more comprehensive examination of the education and career paths of transportation and nontransportation industry executives to determine factors of success; determine whether specific educational backgrounds are more likely to lead to success; determine the number of women in the various transportation industries and the kinds of positions they hold;
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Women in Science and Engineering: Increasing their Numbers in the 1990s determine why women continue to be underrepresented in managerial roles in transportation businesses; identify barriers to career advancement for women; evaluate the support structure for women, including mentoring and role models; and determine feedback methods and opportunities for promotion and growth, including on-the-job and off-site training, to learn whether there are differences in the process for men and women and, if so, why. Subsequently, TRB established its Task Force on Women's Involvement in TRB and in Transportation in the spring of 1986 to examine the extent to which such involvement might reasonably be expected; the extent and nature of barriers to involvement; and potential actions appropriate for consideration by TRB. That task force, jointly with the Task Force on Minorities' Involvement in TRB and Transportation, developed a questionnaire sent to the chairmen of its 150 standing committees to determine barriers to the involvement of women and minorities in TRB and to recommend mechanisms for eliminating such barriers. The task force also collected data on female members of TRB committees and staff, as well as data about women who are potential members of these committees; began to highlight sessions to TRB's annual meeting that would be of particular interest to women; and encouraged related organizations to support individuals interested in attending that meeting. Along the same lines, the Government-University-Industry Research Roundtable (GUIRR) sponsored a symposium on nurturing science and engineering talent in 1986, noting that Early socialization that limits opportunities for girls to
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Women in Science and Engineering: Increasing their Numbers in the 1990s engage in activities that develop their scientific interest and competence is a key factor underlying women's under-representation in science and engineering. The remains of historic exclusion, now expressed in covert job discrimination, and conflicts between professional achievement and family responsibilities also affect women's career choices. The impact of these interrelated factors is evident in data showing that, in high school, fewer female than male students take advanced mathematics and science courses that are critical to technical careers. GUIRR also noted that Many observers perceive discriminatory practices—— reflected in unemployment, underemployment, salaries, and rank and tenure——to be the most serious impediment to the goal of equality of opportunity for women in science and engineering education. The recent increases in the participation of women indicate that improvements in opportunity do result in improvements in participation.11 During the past eight years, NRC has employed women more extensively in advisory and evaluative roles. At the Water Science and Technology Board——a joint project of the Commission on Engineering and Technical Systems (CETS) and the Commission on Physical Sciences, Mathematics, and Applications (CPSMA)——Sheila David, senior program officer, has compiled a directory of female mathematicians, scientists, and engineers who are interested in serving on committees on the National Research Council. To begin the directory, women who had served on NRC committees from 1982-1984 were asked to provide biographical data (if they were interested in serving on future committees) and to suggest the names 11 Government-University-Industry Research Roundtable, Nurturing Science and Engineering Talent: A Discussion Paper (Washington, D.C.: National Academy of Sciences, July 1987).
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Women in Science and Engineering: Increasing their Numbers in the 1990s of other individuals who, although not members of the three institutions, could provide expertise to NRC. CETS and CPSMA staff use the directory when creating committee nomination packages and have been successful in forming committees whose membership includes 2-5 females. Data in this directory have now been computerized by OSEP staff, who use it primarily for compiling rosters for panels to evaluate applications to the fellowship and associateship programs that it administers for NSF. Recent demographic changes indicate that NRC must now assume a more proactive role. At an OSEP-convened workshop in 1986, participants explored what is known about the causes of the observed under-representation and differential participation of women in science and engineering at all educational levels and about the patterns and causes of their differential career development relative to that of men.12 One consequence of that workshop was a call to OSEP for advice and information in setting priorities for research and action programs. In response, OSEP was granted approval by the chairman of NRC to develop a program of research about the education and employment of women in the sciences and engineering. To that end, NRC provided funds in June 1988 for the convening of a Planning Group to Assess Initiatives for Increasing the Participation of Women in Scientific and Engineering Careers. The purpose of the Planning Group was to determine how the OSEP should configure its activities in order to best fulfill several objectives: sensitize key decision makers about the seriousness of the demographic problem; 12 Linda S. Dix, ed, WOMEN: Their Underrepresentation and Career Differentials in Science and Engineering, proceedings of a workshop (Washington, D.C.: National Academy Press, 1987).
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Women in Science and Engineering: Increasing their Numbers in the 1990s illuminate the multifaceted issues that must be addressed in reaching solutions to that problem; and clarify and interpret the voluminous and complex research on the underrepresentation of women in science and engineering.13 To meet these objectives, the planning group surveyed the activities of other organizations and met with representatives of various federal agencies and other groups committed to increasing the participation of women in scientific and engineering careers. Because the gender imbalance in participation can be a subtle, difficult issue to address, many within the science and engineering communities believe that the issue has been resolved. It was pointed out at these meetings, however, that the issue has not disappeared. In addition, the Planning Group determined that an important strategy for ensuring an adequate supply of U.S. scientists and engineers to meet pressing national needs in an increasingly global marketplace would be to increase the representation of women from all racial and ethnic groups in scientific and engineering careers. The planning group's major recommendation, therefore, was the establishment within OSEP of a continuing Committee on Women in Science and Engineering, whose role would be to undertake activities designed to increase the participation of women in scientific and engineering careers. This recommendation meshed with NRC's mandate to OSEP to strive for enhanced strength as a resource and center of expertise ... concerning the status of scientific and engineering manpower and the methodologies for assessing current and projected employment demand and personnel supply. 13 The Research Council's provisions of funds in 1972 for a similar activity, the Conference on Women in Science and Engineering (June 11-12, 1973), had led to the establishment of CEEWISE.
Representative terms from entire chapter: