[EDEQUITY]Other possibilities

From: Allison Nies (calvideo@4link.net)
Date: Wed Oct 16 2002 - 16:05:52 EDT

The problem with your analysis is that it only looks at Nobel Prizes and
nothing else. Physics has not as well as other fields of science, like
medicine, in
attracting women students bec. many of the mathematically inclined science
students who
are women go into engineering instead or other fields like chemistry or
where there are many more women already there and many more jobs!

Not that many physicists are needed in the job market esp. in the last
30 years in the U.S. where the unemployment rate for recent PhDs is very
The physics depts. across America are top-heavy and they have not been
hiring young recent PhDs in physics. Most physicists are employed in
academia and
they do basic research. Astronomy is another example where there are very
jobs, and those go to the top graduates from the top university programs.

Despite this, many depts. of physics now have at least a token woman on
the faculty. This is no where near the percentage rate of lets say Italy
Hungary where 40% of the physicists are women! It seems that around the
Latin countries like Italy do better at supporting women in academia even
without affirmative action. The puritanical countries with a Protestant
ethic are less supportive of working women with demanding careers. In
order to
keep up with the men in their fields, they must put in 100 hours plus a
to compete with the men in their depts. Latin countries have a different
cultural approach to work which allows for family life and flexible

Germany, U.S. , and England have the lowest number of women physicists
on the faculties of universities and colleges. Even Mexico has more
women astronomers than the U.S! But we don't think of Mexico as being gung
on feminism.

I was a physics major, and there are many obstacles preventing women
from achieving in physics. They need a lot of applied mathematics and the
U.S. curriculum is 2-3 years behind Europe and Asia in giving the K1-12 the
necessary math preparation. Schools direct students away from physics
courses in high schools, and most inclined students go into Engineering.

Don't use physics as standard to measure womens' progress in science.
Another point in women disfavor is that, unlike earlier generations in
the 1900-1950's, women today are encouraged to marry and raise children
while they go through grad school and post doc positions. This is very,
very, hard to do. Most women around 1900 remained single. They
could focus exclusively on their careers without any other distractions
or commitments.

Allison Nies

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