Date: Sun, 21 Mar 2004 17:58:54 -0500 (EST)
Subject: AASWOMEN for march 19, 2004

AAS Committee on the Status of Women
Weekly issue of March 19, 2004
eds. Patricia Knezek, Michael Rupen, & Jim Ulvestad
This week's issues:
1. Reminder - Recommendations from WIA II posted March 31, 2004
2. Margaret W. Rossiter History of Women in Science Prize
3. Women in Non-Academic Science Careers Discussion
4. Scientific Programmer II - National Solar Observatory
5. How to submit, subscribe, or unsubscribe to AASWOMEN
1. Reminder - Recommendations from WIA II posted March 31, 2004
From: Patricia Knezek

The CSWA anticipates posting its draft version of the recommendations from
the Women in Astronomy II meeting held in June 2003, on March 31, 2004.
These recommendations are based on the results of the breakout groups at
that meeting, and on discussions during the CSWA session in Atlanta in January
2004. Watch this space for further information!

2. Margaret W. Rossiter History of Women in Science Prize
From: Arleen M. Tuchman via Meg Urry
As chair of this year's HSS Women in Science Prize
Committee, I am writing to ask for nominations. This year
the award will be given to the best article on the history
of women in science. The deadline for submissions is April
1st, so please don't waste any time! Articles written in
2000, 2001, 2002, and 2003 are eligible.

Please send your nominations to Arleen Tuchman at:

Below is some more information on the prize.


Please note. At its 2003 meeting, the HSS Council voted to
rename the History of Women in Science Prize, the Margaret
W. Rossiter History of Women in Science Prize. This change
was approved in the business meeting. No other particulars
of the prize were changed.

This prize is awarded in recognition of an outstanding book
(or, in even-numbered years, article) on the history of
women in science. The book or article may take a
biographical, institutional, theoretical, or other approach
to the topic, which may include discussions of womens
activities in science, analyses of past scientific
practices that deal explicitly with gender, and
investigations regarding women as viewed by scientists.
These may relate to medicine, technology, and the social
sciences as well as the natural sciences. The book or
article must have been published no more than four years
before the year of award (thus, works published in 1997,
1998, 1999, or 2000 were eligible for the 2001 competition).

3. Women in Non-Academic Science Careers Discussion

[Eds. note:  We reprint here an electronic discussion from WIPHYS on
the meaning (if any) of "the leaky pipeline".]

>From WIPHYS of March 15, 2004

Over the last few years I have become increasingly annoyed about
the "leaky pipeline" metaphor for retention of women in academic
science careers. While I recognize the importance of having
women in professorial positions to act as role models for students, I
question the implications of the pipeline metaphor. Have women
who like me work in industrial research positions leaked into the
ground and disappeared? Are our career successes somehow less
important than those of our academic colleagues even if we are
widely recognized and feel fulfilled? Are we simply harder to
count? Perhaps I'm being overly sensitive but I find the pipeline
image rather insulting in its implications.

Most importantly, why don't we ever see data about the number of
women in non-academic science careers? Is it possible that the
women who have "leaked" haven't left science but have simply
chosen a path outside academia? As the Whos shout to Horton in
Dr. Seuss' classic children's book, "We're here! We're here!"

Alison Chaiken
Hewlett Packard Labs
Palo Alto, CA

Full disclosure note: I've sent a very similar message to the AWIS
newsletter. I'd like to raise this question in multiple fora, as the
"leaky pipeline" is getting on my nerves!

>From WIPHYS of March 16, 2004

*******MESSAGE ONE***

In reply to Alison Chaiken, the pipeline analogy is not perfect, and
I'd like to challenge WIPHYS participants to offer better ones.
However, the pipeline analogy communicates the 'problem' to
many, and it does not focus exclusively on academic careers. What
the pipeline analogy says is that if you sample the physics
community (or pipeline) what you find is that the portion of the
participants who are females (concentration might be a more
apt analogy than flow rate), goes down as one proceeds along from
elementary school to high school, college, graduate school,
academic positions, industrial positions, and leadership positions.
Women are leaving to go elsewhere at disproportionately higher
rates than men. [maybe it is like an isotope separation process]

One could consider that the pipeline splits for PhD physicists after
graduate school, with one branch flowing into industry, one into
academia, one into government, one into 'physics-other', and one
into non-physics. When one samples the population in academic
physics, one finds females less prevalent than in the PhD cohort.
The same is true in the other branches of the 'pipeline.' And it is
very true at leadership levels in all the branches. The AIP studies
and reports the US physics population, and some reports are found
at More generally, NSF studies and
reports numerous demographic and other aspects of the US
population of scientists and engineers across all fields. Their
publications are available at The
increasing scarcity of women as one goes up the career ladder is
common to nearly all if not all the fields. The scarcity at leadership
levels can be partially explained by the fact that 20 to 40 years ago
the proportion of science PhD recipients in these fields who are
women was much lower than it is today.

I do not believe that women and men choosing an industrial career
path are considered to have 'leaked' from the pipeline. If the
industrial physics workforce were relatively 'enriched' in women,
compared with the PhD cohort, one would conclude women are
entering physics careers in industry, instead of in academia. What is
unique about the physicists in academia is their high visibility to
students. Thus, the scarcity of women in academic physics and the
climate of academic physics departments likely have a greater
influence than the industrial women physicists on the choices of
students and their desire to enter physics.

The 'problem' is similar (if not amplified) for under-represented
minorities (native Americans, Hispanics, and African Americans). It
is reversed for Asians, who become more prevalent in the branches
as one continues along the physics 'pipeline,' though possibly this
trend does not continue into leadership levels.

Beverly Karplus Hartline

*******MESSAGE TWO ********
 Alison Chaiken can rest assured that most "official" descriptions of
the statistics of women in science and engineering keep track of
women in both academic and industrial employment and their
references to a pipeline also includes women (and men) in both
these categories. For example you might want to get a hold of this
report, which must be on the web (I excerpted some paragraphs
from it last year and didn't keep its URL):

 "Federal Investment in R&D " by Elisa Eiseman, Kei Koizumi, and
Donna Fossum of RAND Corporation MR-1639.0-OSTP
September 2002 Prepared for the President's Council of Advisors
on Science and Technology Where for example they write:
"Industry is the largest job source for scientists and engineers,
employing 73 percent of those with S&E bachelor's degrees, 62
percent of those with master's degrees, and 31 percent of those with
doctorates (NSB, 2002). "
and later:
" However, the S&E pipeline may not be adequate to address the
growing demand for advanced degrees in scientific, engineering and
technical disciplines due to static or declining graduate student
enrollment in most fields of S&E and decreased federal support for
S&E graduate students (Council on Competitiveness, 2001)."
and later
 "With many foreign-born scientists and engineers returning to their
native countries, either by choice or because of U.S. immigration
requirements, there is a pressing need to expand the domestic
pipeline of scientists and engineers (Council on Competitiveness,

The American Institute of Physics collects and publishes many
statistics on physicists and they keep track of both types of
If one detects a preponderance of references to an academic leaky
pipeline that reflects the bias of the writers and that its easier to
collect and analyze data from a relatively small number of
universities with a standard career path for professors, than from
thousands of companies with differing career ladders. I'm afraid that
women really are leaving science and engineering at various points
along the typical education and career path and the leaks are not all
explained by transfers from academia to industry.

Cherrill Spencer
Stanford Linear Accelerator Center

I appreciate your frustration at the term "leaky pipeline," which I
understand to refer to the fact that there are smaller percentages of
women at senior levels than there are at lower levels. I believe the
term is often used in the academic context, but could apply

I also do not like the term leaky pipeline for a different reason,
namely that there are exactly the proportion of female full
professors of physics that we would expect based on degree
production in the past. Most full professors of physics earned their
PhDs in the 1970s, when around 5% of physics PhDs were earned
by women, which is the percentage of female full professors now.
For further data, please see , page 6.

As much as we would like to have data on physicists employed
outside academics, we have very little. The main reason is that
such data are extremely difficult to collect. Say that we contacted
large corporations asking for the number of physicists. As you
know, most physicists do not have "physicist" in their job title.
Many times neither HR nor unit managers know how many people
working for them have physics degrees. Several years ago, we tried
to count physicists employed at National Labs, but had so much
difficulty that we stopped doing the survey.

Thanks for bringing up this issue,
Rachel Ivie
AIP Statistics 

>From WIPHYS of March 17, 2004

******MESSAGE ONE *******

In response to Alison Chaiken's complaint that women in non-
academic science careers are overlooked when we discuss the
monotonic decrease in the representation of women with increasing
professional level (the "leaky pipeline"), I think the point is that we
do not have evidence (that I am aware of) that a larger fraction of
women than men choose such careers in preference to academic
ones. Thus if the representation of women in academic positions
decreases as one moves up the educational and academic
career ladder, one may reasonably assume that the same is true in
non-academic science positions. It seems reasonable that the
pipeline leaks (i.e. women are diverted to non-science careers) on
the non-academic side as well as the academic one. For example,
20% of first-year graduate students in physics are female, but only
15% of recent PhD graduates are. Probably some of the missing
5% chose to leave without a degree in order to pursue exciting
career opportunities in industry. But presumably men do that too--
if that's what is happening rather than the women "leaking out,"
of science careers altogether, why would they be doing it at a larger
rate than the men? On the other hand, the proportion of women
among assistant professors is comparable to that among PhD
graduates, which suggests that women and men choose academic
careers at approximately equal rates. One would expect that the
representation of women in post-PhD entry-level non-academic
science positions is about the same (i.e. 15%). It is harder
to make accurate counts of physicists employed outside academia,
however, since most such people working in industry do not have
"physicist" in their title, even if what they are doing is physics.
Perhaps Roman Czujko of the AIP Statistical Research Center
would be willing to comment?

Laurie McNeil
Dept. of Physics and Astronomy
University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

*******MESSAGE TWO **********

I want to clarify that my specific frustration is that I have always
seen only one branch of the pipeline illustrated with labels
"undergraduate school . . . graduate school . . . assistant professor
. . . associate professor . . . full professor." There could at least
be a branch labeled "industry and government" or even "other."
The pipeline as usually displayed seems to imply that women who
don't become assistant professors have disappeared. Those who
use this image may not intend this implication, but that's what the
picture shows!

I do wonder if the percentage of women physicists in industry or
government is higher than in academia. Or perhaps more foreign-
born women physicists return to their native countries after
receiving their degrees. In that case the US academic-only statistics
that I usually see presented give an unrealistically glum picture.
The women-in-science literature abounds with examples of women
taking non-traditional career paths. While no one could reasonably
deny that women are unrepresented, I wonder if they are not
significantly undercounted as well.

As someone who has chosen not to pursue an academic career and
who has turned down a promotion into management, I worry
sometimes about the interpretation I see placed on gender-based
statistics. I enjoy spending my time hanging out in the lab, but I
feel like I am personally contributing to the low numbers!

I can see the difficulty in tracking women in non-traditional career
paths. One workable solution might be to have graduate schools
track their alumni. Or perhaps the general APS membership could
be polled at membership renewal time. I agree with Rachel Ivie
that asking employers to keep track of employee degrees is unlikely
to work.

Alison Chaiken

******MESSAGE THREE *******

While its largely meant as a criticism of academic behavior and not
as a general description of science careers, I've always found
Goodstein's "diamond mining" analogy compelling.
One problem with the pipeline analogy is that its unidirectional. In
education in general, there are increasing numbers of what used to
be called "non-traditional" students who might begin degrees after
spending time working. The real situation is much more complex.

Furthermore, I agree with one of the posters that those who work
in industry, for example, shouldn't be considered as having
"leaked" out of the pipeline. The whole analogy implies the old
standard that an academic career is the best choice and anything
else is a failure or "diversion".

Our study on the use of Ph.D. training after graduation did not find
that much in the way of fundamental differences between those who
work in various employment sectors. Our study found that science
Ph.D.s can be best described as using a general set of
research-related skills in their jobs regardless of where they were
employed. We concluded that use of disciplinary knowledge
(sometimes crudely described as "working in your field") is not a
distinguishing characteristic of Ph.D.s in the workplace. So a
simplistic pipeline analogy is just not a good description of the real
world. (see:

Steve Smith

>From WIPHYS of March 18, 2004

**********MESSAGE ONE ******

In response to Laurie McNeil's comments on the "leaky pipeline"
and non-academic physicists, I would like to throw a few
observations into the mix. I don't know whether women physicists
are more or less likely than men to go into industry, but there is a
prima facie reason to suspect that they might.

I don't have good references with hard numbers, but during the
1990s I saw several presentations by CSWP (Committee on the
Status of Women in Physics) at APS conferences in which it was
asserted that CSWP surveys had found that industrial employers as
well as national laboratories were more equitable to women in
physics, presumably because equal opportunity laws were more
aggressively pursued there than at universities. This is consistent
with the sorts of things that have come out in recent years from
MIT and Princeton, both of whom have taken admirable initiative in
identifying and confronting their shortcomings.

If these assertions are correct, then it would make sense that
talented women might be more likely than men to pursue industrial
jobs instead of academic ones. I will emphasize, though, that I am
only stating a hypothesis and do not have empirical evidence with
which to test it.

It's also worth noting that Holton and Sonnert's well-known study,
"Who Succeeds in Science," which cleaves to the pipeline
metaphor, states that it excludes industrial careers because the
authors could not figure out how to measure success in industry.

Finally, Steve Smith does all of us a favor by reminding us about
other failings of the pipeline metaphor regarding non-traditional
scientific career paths.

Jonathan Gilligan
Vanderbilt Univ

4. Scientific Programmer II - National Solar Observatory
From: Dottie Poczulp

The Advanced Technology Solar Telescope (ATST) seeks an experienced Scientific
Programmer to help develop and implement our Common Services communications
software.  Requirements for the qualified candidate are expertise in network
communications middleware such as CORBA or ICE, strong object oriented design
and programming skills, and experience in Java and C++. Previous experience
working with distributed telescope software or real-time control is also
desired. Strength in both written and verbal communication is required.

The ATST Common Services software provides the backbone of ATST's distributed
control system and provides an implementation of the Container/Component Model
for use in all ATST software applications. The successful candidate will have
the opportunity to work on the forefront of software design of control systems
for large telescopes.

Please submit your resume to the NOAO HR Manager.

We value and foster a diverse research environment.  Women and
underrepresented minorities are strongly encouraged to apply.

Preference granted to qualified Native Americans living on or near the Tohono
O'Odham reservation.

We are an AA/EO employer.

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