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Women scientists face problems

Surveys say that women collaborate less than men, find balancing work and family difficult

Charles Choi(cqchoi@nasw.org)

SEATTLE—Women scientists experience less collaboration than their male colleagues, and roughly 63% find that balancing work and family is their biggest challenge, according to new surveys presented at the annual American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) meeting here on Friday (February 13).

While the number of women majoring in science and technology has increased since the 1960s, according to a 2000 National Science Foundation (NSF) study, the percentage of those moving into the academic community remains low. Only 19.5% of science and engineering faculty at 4-year colleges and universities in the United States are women, and 10.4% of full professors. At large research institutions, the numbers are even smaller, that study noted.

In her studies of faculty recruitment, physicist Patricia Rankin of the University of Colorado in Boulder said her preliminary findings suggest academics have to follow “a perfect trajectory” to become faculty. “They need…to have avoided...

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