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Women in Science and Engineering: Increasing their Numbers in the 1990s 5 MEASUREMENT FOR SCIENTIFIC AND ENGINEERING HUMAN RESOURCES Changes in U.S. demography, in the infrastructure of science and engineering education, and in the career paths of scientists and engineers are adequate to begin to understand the situation of women in science and engineering. However, as noted in OSEP's 1991 Strategic Plan, "a fundamental barrier to rigorous analysis of the issues raised in this plan is the lack of adequate data." Much remains to be learned, particularly concerning the role of women in the scientific and engineering (S&E) human resource base. Education Infrastructure As noted in Chapter 2, both formal and informal mechanisms encourage females to pursue the education they need to become practicing scientists and engineers. Data and analysis of their effectiveness are both inadequate, but existing data do show that: The entry of women into higher education, in general, grew by 41 percent between 1970 and 1983 and accounted for 52 percent of 1989 bachelor's degree recipients. Explicit recruitment and retention efforts, such as those in engineering, can raise the number of female graduates in all fields from about 800 to 11,000 per year in a decade. Women showed increasing persistence through S&E doctoral programs.
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Women in Science and Engineering: Increasing their Numbers in the 1990s Compared to men, women are lost from the S&E pipeline through lower rates of recruitment and retention. These losses occur at different rates and at different places in the pipeline, depending on field, which suggests that completion is more directly related to field-specific characteristics than to commonly postulated factors such as marriage and parenthood. A large body of data and interpretation already exists on undergraduate and graduate enrollments and on attainment rates for women in science and engineering at all degree levels. However, recruitment activities of academic administrators and S&E faculties indicate that ''colleges and universities have no systematic ways of obtaining this much-needed information" (Keith and Keith, 1990). The Committee did learn that some institutions, such as University of California-Berkeley (1989), do collect and provide such data in internal reports. Furthermore, except for the samples included in NLS-72 and High School and Beyond (Burkheimer and Novak, 1981; Eagle et al., 1988), longitudinal data are not currently collected on continuation rates by field from undergraduate degree completion to graduate enrollment, although such data are necessary in order to create a supportive campus climate and devise appropriate intervention strategies. Overall comparisons for Ph.D. completion rates based on undergraduate major do show that the sex differences in degree attainment in many fields are quite small: this suggests that those fields that exhibit significant losses of women from the Ph.D. pipeline are a departure from the norm. Nonetheless, many researchers feel that women are more likely than men to pursue master's degrees rather than Ph.D.s; the available data are not sufficiently disaggregated to confirm or deny this. Similarly, data are not collected in a comprehensive data base to
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Women in Science and Engineering: Increasing their Numbers in the 1990s show the comparative success of women in obtaining financial support for studies in the sciences and engineering. Data extracted from such sources as the Doctorate Records File do indicate financial success for specified segments of the S&E human resource base, but in general, we do not know how the success rate compares to application rate or the degree to which women, compared with men, apply for various forms of financial assistance. Instead, as was done for the NSF Graduate and Minority Graduate Fellowship Programs (see Chapter 2), one must pull such data on a program-by-program basis. Analyzing such data is essential to verify that: women are more likely than men to discontinue their education because of insufficient funds; and women offered financial aid at the beginning of their undergraduate education are more likely not only to earn a bachelor's degree in science or engineering, but also to be retained in the education pipeline through completion of doctoral studies. In its role as a monitor of the progress of women in science and engineering, the Committee will examine how women fare in various financial aid programs available at the undergraduate and graduate levels of the education pipeline. Quantitative data are also lacking on informal mechanisms within the S&E education infrastructure. Much anecdotal evidence exists, for example, on the importance of the media and parents influencing precollege girls to be interested in science and engineering, but little statistical data has resulted from the limited quantitative research on this issue. Similarly, the Committee knows of no research that examines the influence of the media on the retention of women at the undergraduate and
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Women in Science and Engineering: Increasing their Numbers in the 1990s graduate levels, although some studies have shown that having a parent, spouse, or mentor who is a scientist or engineer is influential in both recruitment and retention at those levels of the education pipeline. Nontraditional methods of research——for example, ethnographic studies and focus groups——may be appropriate vehicles for deriving initial information on the basis of which more rigorous information-gathering efforts might be mounted. To follow up on this latter finding, assessments should be made of the effects of role models and mentors on recruitment and retention. While many institutions and professional societies assert the importance of mentoring and networking, we do not know definitively how important this is for students in the sciences and engineering——either female or male. In fact, a comprehensive search for research in the area of mentoring yielded no studies focusing solely on these disciplines; rather, most research to date has examined the mentor-protege relationship in the fields of education and business administration. The 1989 NAS report, On Being a Scientist, found that mentors can be quite influential on one's career advancement, but no findings from quantitative research are readily available to support or refute the anecdotal evidence submitted by eminent members of the S&E community. A more comprehensive examination of mentoring in science and engineering must be undertaken in order for this phenomenon to be understood more thoroughly. Finally, the Committee on Women in Science and Engineering believes that more data are needed on the institutional factors affecting the recruitment and retention of women in S&E disciplines. A related finding of the AAAS study was that, "In general, there did not seem to be a central source of information or coordinated effort concerning recruitment and
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Women in Science and Engineering: Increasing their Numbers in the 1990s retention of women and/or minorities in science and engineering'' (Matyas and Malcom, 1991). This can lead to negative recruitment and retention: after expressing an initial interest in science and engineering (S&E) studies, women more often than men switch to nonscience or nonengineering fields, typically basing their decisions on sociocultural and attitudinal factors rather than on their own academic talent or performance. Most data on this "chilly climate" have come from the American Association of Colleges' (AAC) Project on the Status of Education and Women, which surveyed limited populations. But because the AAC data support the reported experience of many women scientists and engineers, it is essential to have quantitative data in order to determine the pervasiveness of this negative treatment of women attempting to broaden their education in the sciences and engineering. One aspect of the campus environment requiring greater data collection and analysis is advising protocols as evaluated by female students——how are their majors and degree objectives chosen, for instance, and what degrees are chosen? Intervention Models Some organizations within the S&E community have taken actions to encourage more women to pursue careers in the sciences and engineering, and these interventions have had a positive effect (GUIRR, 1987). However, few of these interventions have been systematic or sustained (see, for instance, Cavanaugh, 1990); and despite the very impressive gains in recruitment and retention, the number of female scientists and engineers remains relatively small: in general, less that one out of every six scientists and engineers is a female (Table 18). The increased participation of women in science and engineering has not been enough to offset the overall
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Women in Science and Engineering: Increasing their Numbers in the 1990s TABLE 18: Numbers of Women Employed in S&E Fields, by Race/Ethnicity: 1982-1986 Women Men Race/Ethnicity 1982 1984 1986 Percent change, 1982-1986 1986 African-American 23,000 22,900 34,500 50 80,500 Asian-American 18,900 27,000 36,300 92 190,500 Hispanic 9,500 15,200 19,600 106 73,800 Native American 1,900 1,500 2,700 42 21,000 White 339,800 452,200 608,600 79 3,581,500 All 388,900 512,600 698,600 80 3,927,800 SOURCE: Robert C. Johnson, Black female participation in quantitative domains, in Sandra Z. Keith and Philip Keith (eds.), Proceedings of the National Conference on Women in Mathematics and the Sciences , St. Cloud, Minn.: St. Cloud State University; compiled and calculated from National Science Foundation, Women arid Minorities lit Science and Engineering, 1982 and 1988.
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Women in Science and Engineering: Increasing their Numbers in the 1990s trend of declining enrollments in these fields, especially in 'certain disciplines where projected demands are largest (see Table 1, page 8). There have been few assessments of either participation rates for women in science and engineering or the effectiveness of programs to increase their participation. Few intervention programs have been sustained for a period long enough to permit evaluation, reap maximum benefits, and allow for institutionalization and replication of successful programs. The 1991 AAAS study (Matyas and Malcom) confirmed earlier findings that "most intervention programs have not been evaluated extensively' and added that less than half have undertaken longitudinal analyses of their programs' effectiveness. Furthermore, there has been little dissemination of materials describing interventions that have been shown to be effective (Erickson and Erickson, 1984). However, the Committee also learned that, to their credit, some individual institutions of higher education have undertaken self-assessments, which have led to programs targeted to potential women scientists and engineers. Among those of which the Committee is aware are those at the University of Maine (Schonberger, 1990), University of Minnesota-Twin Cities (Mauersberger, 1990), and Illinois State University-Normal (Jones, 1990). But the Committee has not examined those programs and can make no determination as to the appropriateness of the assessment methodologies used in the self-evaluations. An examination of laboratory programs for women undertaken by the Department of Energy was completed recently. Participants at a November 16, 1990, meeting determined that effective programs for women scientists and engineers employed in DOE laboratories have four major characteristics:
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Women in Science and Engineering: Increasing their Numbers in the 1990s ensure effective recruitment of qualified female candidates; maintain strong networking and mentoring programs; facilitate movement into management and senior scientist positions; and encourage the expression and discussion of areas of concern (DOE, 1991). Subsequently, the U.S. Merit Systems Protection Board (MSPB) has undertaken a special study on women in the federal government to describe their occupational and grade-level distribution, determine where there are imbalances, identify barriers to occupational mobility and promotional opportunity for women, and recommend ways to remove those barriers. According to Katherine C. Naff, project manager, this study will oversample federally employed scientists and engineers, both male and female, in an attempt to more accurately portray the status and role of women scientists and engineers in federal agencies. Career Patterns Data on the career patterns of women scientists and engineers are somewhat more obtainable, a necessity if policy makers are to effect changes that will increase their participation in the S&E work force. For instance, NSF regularly reports data on the employment——including unemployment, underemployment, and underutilization——of women scientists and engineers in the biennial reports, Women and Minorities in Science and Engineering and Science & Engineering Indicators. However, data are often reported 2-4 years after they were collected, giving an outdated picture of the current situation. Such data, which are used frequently to reveal trends,
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Women in Science and Engineering: Increasing their Numbers in the 1990s may delay new or changed programs designed to provide the United States with an adequate supply of qualified scientists and engineers. Thus, it is imperative that data be released to the public in a timely manner so that appropriate responses can be made by all sectors of the economy. At the same time, greater use should be made of available data that can indicate the career paths of both female and male scientists and engineers. For instance, at a 1986 OSEP-sponsored and NSF-funded workshop, participants examined available data to gain a clearer picture of the underrepresentation and career differentials of women in science and engineering. The proceedings of that workshop, because of their analytical nature, have been used widely by policy makers in both government and industry to assess actions that might be taken to recruit and retain future women into S&E careers. The Committee on Women in Science and Engineering plans to rely on currently available data in several studies to address issues of the employment of women in science and engineering. Among such studies are the following:. A Study of Career Differences in a Matched Sample of Men and Women Ph.D.s in Science and Engineering:. The purpose of this study is to provide data that may help measure any reduction of disparity between careers of men and women Ph.D.s during the past decade,7 examining sex-related barriers to their participation 7 This would be an update of work conducted by the earlier Committee on the Education and Employment of Women in Science and Engineering.. See Nancy C. Ahern and Elizabeth L. Scott, Career Outcomes in a Matched Sample of Men and Women Ph.D.s: An Analytical Report (Washington,
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Women in Science and Engineering: Increasing their Numbers in the 1990s and advancement and identifying career barriers that federal policy might help to overcome. The study of career differences will be based largely on analysis of data for a sample of Ph.D.s in OSEP's Longitudinal Work History File and Doctorate Records File and on comparisons with earlier published studies. The study will seek answers to questions such as: Has the distribution of employment of women by sector changed in the past decade, e.g., do universities currently employ a higher proportion of the employed women Ph.D.s? To what extent do women scientists and engineers, as compared with their male counterparts, migrate from one employment sector to another? Has the disparity between median starting salary and annual salary for men and women (by field, by employment sector, and by age) decreased? Do women in all fields still exceed men in involuntary part-time employment or unemployment immediately after receiving their degree? How is marital status associated with career attainment? What is the effect of having held a postdoctoral appointment on one's career path? A Study of Women Scientists and Engineers Employed in Industry:. The reasons for the relatively low rate of industrial employment for women scientists and engineers cannot be determined from the information presently available. For example, it is not clear to what extent this difference from that of men represents problems D.C.: National Academy Press, 1981).
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Women in Science and Engineering: Increasing their Numbers in the 1990s of work location, especially in the case of two-career couples. However, current data can provide answers to other questions: What are the retention rates, by gender and degree level, for scientists and engineers in industry and government? Are women more likely to leave within five years of employment? What are the reasons most often cited for such exits? To what extent do male and female scientists and engineers pursue a career in both research and management? How has the percentage of women scientists and engineers in management changed during the past 10 years, and how does their number in the ranks of management compare to that of men? What differences exist in salary and rate of promotion for those engaged in research versus those who have moved into management, by sex? A Study of the Status of Women Scientists and Engineers in Academe : Since 1975, the supply of women Ph.D. scientists and engineers has grown sharply. The Committee will use data currently available from the Survey of Doctorate Recipients and Survey of Earned Doctorates to analyze such issues as the following: the percentage of women on science faculties, both nationwide and at leading research universities; promotion rates for women faculty, especially promotions from the rank of assistant professor (where most women were found in 1977) to associate professor; gender differences in awarding of tenure to women and
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Women in Science and Engineering: Increasing their Numbers in the 1990s men at the same rank; salary differentials, analyzed separately for public and private institutions; off-ladder appointments (i.e., whether women continue to be represented disproportionately often in these positions, with limited opportunities for research and for improving their prospects); and the relationship between marital status and having children to promotion rates and salaries. Such studies are particularly important, since inequalities between women and men in career success indicators——such as academic rank, tenure, and salary——may influence young women to seek careers in non-S&E professional fields, where they perceive less inequality. The Committee on Women in Science and Engineering believes that further progress in increasing the participation of women in science and engineering will depend heavily on making available timely and carefully analyzed data about their career status, and it will devote much effort to securing and publishing such information. Priority Issues To permit rigorous analysis of issues related to the recruitment, education, and employment of women in science and engineering, it will be necessary to foster the development of suitable measures. With regard to the development of effective educational policies, measures are needed to monitor retention of women in undergraduate and graduate programs in science and engineering——including trends in financial support for these
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Women in Science and Engineering: Increasing their Numbers in the 1990s students. To assess the effectiveness of intervention models, as described throughout this report, priority must be given to the development of outcome measures. With regard to issues affecting career patterns, finer measures of labor force adjustment are needed, including the ultimate disposition of postdoctoral personnel. The Committee on Women in Science and Engineering plans to foster the development of these measures by facilitating the establishment of a central data-collection network and encouraging the exchange of recruitment and retention data among institutions——both those educating scientists and engineers and those employing this talented work force (colleges and universities, industry, and government agencies). The Committee has identified the following questions that must be answered in order to fulfill these objectives: How complete is the data base provided by the ''top 25" institutions——Ph.D.-granting, B.S.-granting, HBCUs, women's colleges—— with respect to financial support and degree completion rates? How comprehensive are the outreach, recruitment, and mentorship programs at all three degree levels and by the various employment sectors? How are the above programs and career development programs evaluated by institutions and employers? What use is made of such evaluations? How well established and evaluated are the policies on sexual harassment and programs to prevent crimes against women? How conducive to learning, with assured personal security, is the campus climate for women?
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Women in Science and Engineering: Increasing their Numbers in the 1990s How can CWSE promote uniform collection and reporting procedures for the data described above? Through meetings with data-base administrators and users, as well as by undertaking its own research that relies on information collected in national and institutional data bases, the Committee proposes to answer these questions.
Representative terms from entire chapter: