Although a gender imbalance in the physical sciences has been evident for years, few private foundations have allocated significant sums to encourage the participation of women in hard science disciplines. But the Henry Luce Foundation’s newly established Clare Boothe Luce Fund has taken the initiative in attempting to rectify the problem by setting aside a $70 million endowment specifically to provide professorships, fellowships, and scholarships for women scientists in higher education. The long-range aim of the fund is to “increase the number of women who choose science majors,” says Henry Luce III, stepson of Mrs. Luce and president of the Luce Foundation.

While Mrs. Luce, wife of Time Inc. founder Henry R. Luce, was a United States congresswoman, playwright, editor of Vanity Fair, and U.S. ambassador to Italy, she was never a scientist. However, her stepson says, she perceived that science “is the area where women are least represented and...

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