Crow Hall, Room 204
Women continue to be underrepresented in STEM fields (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics), some 40 years after gender discrimination laws were passed in many developed countries. The numbers of women, people of color, and other minority groups lag far behind their representation in the population. The gender imbalance is particularly large in my own field of physics, where fewer than 20% of college physics majors in the US are women and only 10% of physics faculty are women. Interestingly, astronomy requires more or less the same skills as physics but has roughly double the percentages of women at all levels (in the US), indicating the influence of factors beyond scientific/quantitative talent. Decades of social science research suggest the dearth of women is due in large part to lower expectations and evaluations of women as leaders, thinkers, do-ers. I discuss the experimental data and outline steps that can be taken to mitigate obstacles to equal participation, full utilization of available talent being critical to the health of STEM professions.
Professor Meg Urry, Yale Center for Astronomy & Astrophysics, will present.