scientists. For example, given the lesser full-time employment of women, we do not say: “Women fail to pursue full-time employment,” since this implies an unrestricted choice by the young female scientists to not work. Nor, do we say: “Women are given fewer opportunities for full-time employment,” since the data we have do not provide information on whether opportunities to work exist. Instead, we say: “Women are less likely to attain full-time employment.” This reflects the outcome of a process that remains largely hidden in the large scale, quantitative data that we have presented in the report.

Still, we believe that the Panel would be remiss if it did not bring to light some of the evidence for the inequitable treatment of women in science and engineering. This has been done through our citations of historical events and anecdotal accounts. Such information makes it painfully clear that some, and probably many, women faced obstacles that men did not. While stories of overt discrimination against women in science and engineering are increasingly rare and federal legislation has eliminated blatantly discriminatory policies for the treatment of women, we believe that despite the massive progress since 1973, the assertion by Harriet Zuckerman and Jonathan R.Cole in 1975 may still be, albeit to a lesser extent, an accurate characterization of the situation facing women in science (Zuckerman and Cole 1975):

The principle of the triple penalty, as we have observed, asserts that women scientists are triply handicapped…first by having to overcome barriers to their entering science, second by the psychic consequences of perceived discrimination—limited aspirations—and third by actual discrimination in the allocation of opportunities and rewards.


The report does not lend itself to conventional recommendations. At least, it does not do so without a significant infusion of thinking that goes beyond the evidence we have provided. The report documents the persistence of inequalities that future programs and policies must address as they seek to improve further the situation for women in science and engineering. Our data highlight where changes have occurred, where parity is being approached, and where major differences remain. While each member of the Panel had ideas regarding the policies and programs that are necessary to maintain and enhance the presence of women in science and engineering, we must leave the issues of program and policy design to others, as the practical, political, and ethical issues are beyond the mandate of our Panel. Still, there are several points that we want to make.

  • First, there is evidence that familial obligations affect women dif-

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