APS News

Commission on Women in Science

In June, the APS Executive Board voted to endorse a statement expressing support of H.R. 3007, The Commission on the Advancement of Women in Science, Engineering and Technology Act. If adopted, this act will establish a special commission to determine why women continue to be under-represented in the science and engineering workforce, and examine practices that have been successful in recruiting women.

The bill was introduced into the House of Representatives by Rep. Connie Morella (R-MD), who noted that while women represent 50% of all workers, they compose roughly 22% of the science and engineering workforce. The House Science Subcommittee on Technology approved the bill by voice vote on March 26, 1998. [Testimony from the Congressional hearings held in March can be found online at http://www.house.gov/science.] H.R. 3007 has also been endorsed by the American Association of Engineering Societies, the American Chemical Society, and the Institute of Electrical and Electronic Engineers.

The APS statement was drafted by an ad-hoc subcommittee of the APS Panel on Public Affairs (POPA), which included Caroline Herzenberg, Henry Abarbanel, Marc Sher, and Lou Lanzerotti. Text of the statement follows.

Statement on the Advancement of Women in Science, Engineering and Technology
Professional organizations, universities, private industry, and government research laboratories have made modest progress in attracting women to careers in science and engineering. Yet, the numbers remain disturbingly low. In physics, for example, women account for only 6.5% of the labor force and only 13 percent of new PhDs. For a number of years, The American Physical Society has championed programs that encourage more women to enter the science and engineering fields. In accordance with past policies, the Executive Board of The American Physical Society endorses the establishment of a Commission on the Advancement of Women in Science, Engineering and Technology proposed in the bill H.R. 3007, which will seek to identify barriers that might deter women from entering these fields

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Editor: Barrett H. Ripin