APS News

Global Survey Will Compare Men and Women Physicists

The American Institute of Physics has partnered with the International Union of Pure and Applied Physics to conduct a global survey of physicists’ careers. The aim of the study is to compare the experiences of professional men and women physicists around the world.

This is the first time that the experiences of both men and women are being polled, as well as the first time the questionnaire has been translated into multiple languages. This is the third time that the AIP and IUPAP have partnered to conduct such a survey.

“We want people to tell us about their career in physics,” said Rachel Ivie, a member of the statistical research staff at AIP, “We’re looking to see gender differences in careers.”

The main aim of the survey is to collect information about how the experiences of men and women physicists compare. Ivie said that the authors of the survey hope that with this study they can put together an accurate picture of the status of physicists across the globe.

The previous two surveys only collected data from women physicists. This time, the AIP and IUPAP broadened the scope of the survey to include men as well. This way, the two organizations will be able to directly compare the reported experiences of women with men.

Since the survey is translated into multiple languages, the teams will be able to compare data, not just from English-speaking countries, but from around the world. The survey is available in English, Arabic, Russian, Chinese, Japanese, French, Spanish and German.

Already the survey has been sent out to members of the Australian Institute of Physics, and the Japanese and German Physical Societies, and soon will be sent to the Canadian and French Physical Societies as well.

The survey has already been sent out to a sample of about 3600 members of the American Physical Society. However anyone is welcome to take part in it. Questions range from queries about educations levels and marriage status, to inquiries about experiences at their first and current jobs. Ivie said that of particular interest to the survey’s authors was to see what effect having children has on the careers of physicists.

The survey is also going out to physics students in addition to professionals. Questions for them also inquire about what first interested them in a career in physics, and why they stuck with it.

The survey will run through spring 2010.
Gray arrow  Global Survey of Physicists

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Editor: Alan Chodos