GETTING WOMEN INTO THE PHYSICS POWER STRUCTURE NATIONALLY AND INTERNATIONALLY
Topic Organizing Committee: K. Gebbie (USA, Chair), H. Fukuyama (Japan), Y. Gamal (Egypt), B. Hartline (USA)
The Issue: The percentage of women in physics in all countries decreases markedly with each step up the academic ladder and with each level of promotion in industrial and national laboratories. The result is a dearth of women among physicists in leadership positions in these sectors worldwide. Nor are women well represented among physicists in top research institutes, funding agencies, professional societies and government. Yet there is much evidence that the women who do reach these top positions command as much or more respect as their men peers.
If the profession of physics is to attract the talent pool needed by industry, government and academia, women must see themselves as full participants in the scientific endeavoras executives, directors, managers, leaders and policy makers as well as researcher scientists in the laboratory. And if the profession is to maintain its authority, it must draw for its leadership on the best and the brightest of its practitioners from all segments of society.
Definitions: How do we identify positions of power? How do leadership positions differ in different countries? For example, a full professorship in Europe is much more prestigious than in the United States.
Databases: How can we best develop and maintain databases of percentages of women in high level positions in physics throughout the world? Are these percentages changing? Can we use these data to increase awareness of the problem?
Causes: Why the paucity of women physicists in leadership positions? Is it a phase lag that does not yet reflect the (slowly) increasing percentage of PhDs in physics awarded to women? Does it reflect what Virginia Valian1 calls the =93accumulation of disadvantage,=94 small differences in treatment that add up to large disparities over time? Is it schema of sex differences and the relative roles of men and women?
Skills and Style: What skills are generally associated with good leadership? Are these different for men and for women? Is it more difficult for women than for men to assert leadership without aggravating people?
Leadership Activities: What kinds of activities tend to build leadership and the image of power e.g., assuming additional responsibility, chairing committees, setting policy, solving problems, bringing in funding, making money? In academia? In Industry? In government?
Training: When is leadership training useful for women physicists? What kinds of training might be useful? For example:
=B7 The California Institute of Technology gives short courses on LEADERSHIP & MANAGEMENT DEVELOPMENT, =20
=B7 Harvard, MIT and
Tufts have similar courses.
=B7 There is also a variety of other institutes (for which I will try to= find good ones with websites) that give short courses in sensitivity to,= and awareness of, other cultures, races and genders.
Solutions: How do we approach the complex process of changing= behavior in those men and women who genuinely want to change and in those= who see no advantage in doing so? How do we get men in= positions of power engaged in solving the problem?
Women in Physics, 2000. AIP Publication Number R-430, Rachel Ivie= and Katie Stowe
Why So Slow? The Advancement of Women, Virginia Valian 1998. = Cambridge Massachusetts: MIT Press. 1998
Differential Access to Opportunity and Power, R. M. Kanter 1979. In= Discrimination in Organizations, R. Alvarez and K. G. Lutterman, eds., pp= 52-68. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass.
EU report 1999
What resolutions could we pass that would help individual men and women= as well as academic, industrial and governmental institutions deal with= this issue?