Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Women in Maths & Science

From CBC News:
The National Research Council reported this spring that women who earn Ph.D.s in science (though there are still far fewer of them than men) are as likely to land teaching positions, promotions and tenure at major research universities as their male counterparts. During the same week the National Academy of Sciences reported that girls in the U.S. have now reached parity with boys in mathematical achievement.

Currently universities are reporting marked increases in female enrollment in science, engineering and math degree programs. Engineering is now one of the most popular majors at the all-female Smith College in Massachusetts. (The college graduated 20 students from its new engineering program in 2004; today it enrolls 135.) Half of all MIT undergraduates are now women. And last year at Carnegie Mellon in Pittsburgh women made up 30 per cent of undergraduate students in mathematics and science, up from 17 per cent in 1986.

The Ivy League's Brown University, which has had a highly regarded mentoring program called WISE (women in science and engineering) for more than a decade, has noticed a striking increase in female applicants who are interested in pursuing science degrees. The number of women intending to enroll in physical sciences increased about 40 per cent from the class of 2010 to the class of 2013. Brown is also is making a concerted effort to hire more women for its science faculty, according to Katherine Bergeron, a dean of the college. Toward that end the university recently received a $3 million US grant from the National Science Foundation to support women in the sciences.

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