White men dominate science posts

Study: Few women, minority professors in science, engineering



OKLAHOMA CITY, Oklahoma (BNW) -- White men still dominate university professorships at the nation's top science and engineering schools, even where many of the doctoral students are women and minorities, according to the results of a survey released Thursday.

Women hold between 3 percent and 15 percent of full professorships in science and engineering at the schools surveyed, according to the report written by Donna J. Nelson, a University of Oklahoma chemistry professor who has written several studies on women and minorities in science.

As a result, women can earn their degrees without having a woman professor or even having access to a female faculty member, according to the survey.

"Women are less likely to go into and remain in science and engineering when they lack mentors and role models," the survey said. "When female professors are not hired, treated fairly and retained, female students perceive that they will be treated similarly."

In some instances, the percentage of female students far outweighs the proportion of professors of the same gender, the survey showed. For example, 48.2 percent of students earning bachelor's degrees in math were female, but only 8.3 percent of math professors were women.

Black, Hispanic and American Indian women have even fewer professorships than their white counterparts, according to the survey. For instance, it found no black, Hispanic or Indian women who were full professors at any of the top 50 computer science departments.

The report, which Nelson co-wrote with Diana C. Rogers of the University of Oklahoma, urged male and female professors to encourage women to enter science and engineering.

The study examined the top 50 departments in many science and engineering fields, as ranked by the National Science Foundation, from 2000 to 2002. Some research also was done at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

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