15.2 Statement on the Status of Women in Physics

The American Physical Society (APS) believes full participation by everyone, regardless of gender, is important to the health and future achievements of our discipline. The number of women in physics remains disappointingly low, and biases persist. The APS urges its members, physics leaders and policy makers to take action to improve the recruitment, retention and treatment of women in physics at all levels of education and employment.

Context and Actions

Enabling the full participation of women in physics requires improving how all physicists are treated, with particular attention to practices and assumptions that discourage women from joining and remaining in the profession. Well‐intended efforts can fall short due to unintended and unconscious biases. The APS encourages leaders in industry, government, and academia to adopt, monitor, and refine systemic policies and practices that improve the recruitment, retention and treatment of women.

Actions include:

  • Raise awareness of both deliberate and unconscious gender bias and its impacts;
  • Adopt clear guidelines and gender‐neutral practices for hiring, retention, compensation, recognition and promotion;
  • Promote effective mentoring at every level;
  • Establish flexible family‐friendly policies; and
  • Conduct periodic internal and external reviews of these policies and practices.

The APS will continue to support these efforts through programs, policies and directed activities.

(Adopted by the Council on November 14, 2015)
Category: Ethics and Values

APS Statements

APS Statements are public policy statements that undergo a meticulous process of draft and review, including receiving comments from APS members, before being voted on by APS Council at one of its semiannual meetings.