Though women obtained more doctoral degrees than men in 2008-09, "women with doctoral degrees in science and engineering held a third of all faculty positions in academia as of 2006," according to the American Association for the Advancement of Science. Results of a recent, nation-wide AAAS-Science survey indicate that "98 percent of all women who responded … know a female colleague who has left the science field because she encountered barriers to her professional success." Sixty-one percent of respondents reported that they'd "personally struggled to balance life and career," 52 percent said they'd experienced gender bias, and 34 percent said they'd "encountered limited access to mentors." Nearly three-quarters of female scientists who took part in the survey indicated that "they had sacrified their personal goals to achieve professional goals." In particular, AAAS notes that "female respondents were less likely to be married or in a long-term relationship than men," and "much less likely to have children than their male counterparts." AAAS director of education and human resources Shirley Malcom says that the community must "be more imaginative about how one can have a successful career in science as well as a life. … It will be necessary to re-orient the expectations so that women scientists face fewer hurdles and can play on a level field with their male counterparts." Our sister publication Genome Technology addresses these issues — as well as other obstacles female scientists face — in its October cover story, here.
Survey Chronicles Female Scientists' Career Strife
Oct 08, 2010