tional levels and in the workforce. As a result, NSF instituted a number of initiatives, many of which continue to be administered through its Programs for Women and Girls within NSF’s Directorate for Human Resources. The lack of funding stability, however, has hampered these programs and some grants have been eliminated. Fox (1998) reviews recent initiatives to support the participation and performance of women in graduate education.
When we examine background characteristics of men and women, we find that while differences persist, they have shrunk considerably. Still, women are less likely to obtain undergraduate degrees from Ph.D. granting institutions, take longer from the time of the baccalaureate to complete the degree, and are less likely to be supported by research positions during graduate education. While these differences are declining, each is likely to have negative effects on career outcomes for women. Finally, men are more likely to be married and to have children. While these differences are much smaller in 1995 than they were in 1973, later chapters will show that women who are married and have small children are less likely to have a full-time career in science and engineering.