Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

All-male physics departments are not proof of bias against hiring women, suggests new AIP study

19.07.2013
Many U.S. universities have no women at all among their physics faculty, and when people talk about gender equity in physics, this fact is often cited as evidence of a hiring bias. But a new analysis by the American Institute of Physics (AIP) Statistical Research Center challenges this argument, finding that the existence of all-male departments is not necessarily evidence of a hiring bias.

By comparing the actual distribution of women in physics with simulated results, the report shows, if anything, that today there are more departments than expected with at least one female faculty member. It concludes that the real reason for the lack of women in many departments is the small number of women in physics overall -- currently only 13 percent of all physics faculty nationwide.

"We do not mean to imply that there is no discrimination against women, that hostile environments do not exist, or that issues of gender representation do not need to be continually addressed in American universities," said Catherine O'Riordan, AIP vice president of Physics Resources. "But we should no longer point to the absence of a woman in a physics department as evidence of bias."

Investigating Why Some Departments have no Female Faculty

"We wanted to evaluate whether the absence of female faculty members in physics departments is an appropriate measure of women's progress in physics," said Susan White, research manager in the Statistical Research Center (SRC) at AIP, who conducted the study with Rachel Ivie, associate director of the SRC.

If a hiring bias did exist, White said, one would find women in fewer physics departments than would be expected if all women in the field were distributed randomly across the academic landscape. White and Ivie found, however, that more departments than expected have at least one woman. It follows that many female faculty members will be the only woman in their department.

While it is true that over one-third of physics departments have no women among their faculty, White points out that this is the result of the low number of women among physics faculty and the fact that many departments have fewer than five faculty members. Even if half of all faculty members were women, she notes, we would still expect to find over 100 departments with either all-male or all-female faculty.

"We believe the issue of gender equity in physics is complex and nuanced," said Ivie, "It is unwise to try to simplify it by examining whether or not a department has a woman among its faculty."

More Information:

Read the report, "Number of Women in Physics Departments: A Simulation Analysis": http://www.aip.org/statistics/trends/facultytrends.html

AIP's Statistical Research Center: http://www.aip.org/statistics

About AIP

The American Institute of Physics is an organization of 10 physical science societies, representing more than 135,000 scientists, engineers, and educators. Through its Physics Resources Center, AIP delivers valuable services and expertise in education and student programs, science communications, government relations, career services for science and engineering professionals, statistical research in physics employment and education, industrial outreach, and the history of physics and allied fields. AIP publishes Physics Today, the most influential and closely followed magazine of the physics community, and is also home to Society of Physics Students and the Niels Bohr Library and Archives. AIP owns AIP Publishing LLC, a scholarly publisher in the physical and related sciences.

Jason Socrates Bardi | EurekAlert!
Further information:
http://www.aip.org

Further reports about: AIP female faculty members physics departments

More articles from Studies and Analyses:

nachricht Rutgers-led innovation could spur faster, cheaper, nano-based manufacturing
14.02.2018 | Rutgers University

nachricht New study from the University of Halle: How climate change alters plant growth
12.01.2018 | Martin-Luther-Universität Halle-Wittenberg

All articles from Studies and Analyses >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Attoseconds break into atomic interior

A newly developed laser technology has enabled physicists in the Laboratory for Attosecond Physics (jointly run by LMU Munich and the Max Planck Institute of Quantum Optics) to generate attosecond bursts of high-energy photons of unprecedented intensity. This has made it possible to observe the interaction of multiple photons in a single such pulse with electrons in the inner orbital shell of an atom.

In order to observe the ultrafast electron motion in the inner shells of atoms with short light pulses, the pulses must not only be ultrashort, but very...

Im Focus: Good vibrations feel the force

A group of researchers led by Andrea Cavalleri at the Max Planck Institute for Structure and Dynamics of Matter (MPSD) in Hamburg has demonstrated a new method enabling precise measurements of the interatomic forces that hold crystalline solids together. The paper Probing the Interatomic Potential of Solids by Strong-Field Nonlinear Phononics, published online in Nature, explains how a terahertz-frequency laser pulse can drive very large deformations of the crystal.

By measuring the highly unusual atomic trajectories under extreme electromagnetic transients, the MPSD group could reconstruct how rigid the atomic bonds are...

Im Focus: Developing reliable quantum computers

International research team makes important step on the path to solving certification problems

Quantum computers may one day solve algorithmic problems which even the biggest supercomputers today can’t manage. But how do you test a quantum computer to...

Im Focus: In best circles: First integrated circuit from self-assembled polymer

For the first time, a team of researchers at the Max-Planck Institute (MPI) for Polymer Research in Mainz, Germany, has succeeded in making an integrated circuit (IC) from just a monolayer of a semiconducting polymer via a bottom-up, self-assembly approach.

In the self-assembly process, the semiconducting polymer arranges itself into an ordered monolayer in a transistor. The transistors are binary switches used...

Im Focus: Demonstration of a single molecule piezoelectric effect

Breakthrough provides a new concept of the design of molecular motors, sensors and electricity generators at nanoscale

Researchers from the Institute of Organic Chemistry and Biochemistry of the CAS (IOCB Prague), Institute of Physics of the CAS (IP CAS) and Palacký University...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

VideoLinks
Industry & Economy
Event News

2nd International Conference on High Temperature Shape Memory Alloys (HTSMAs)

15.02.2018 | Event News

Aachen DC Grid Summit 2018

13.02.2018 | Event News

How Global Climate Policy Can Learn from the Energy Transition

12.02.2018 | Event News

 
Latest News

Basque researchers turn light upside down

23.02.2018 | Physics and Astronomy

Finnish research group discovers a new immune system regulator

23.02.2018 | Health and Medicine

Attoseconds break into atomic interior

23.02.2018 | Physics and Astronomy

VideoLinks
Science & Research
Overview of more VideoLinks >>>