Women scientists have tough road

Aug. 18, 2005 at 11:21 PM
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MADISON, Wis., Aug. 18 (UPI) -- Despite gains in training, the career path of most U.S. women scientists at universities remains a difficult trek.

A group of prominent women scientists and administrators, including chancellors and provosts, wrote an analysis of the issue in Science magazine.

"The good news is we've made progress -- the bad news is we still have a long way to go to achieve equity," says lead author Jo Handelsman, a Howard Hughes Medical Institute professor at the University of Wisconsin-Madison of the paper published in Science paper.

"There is still a lot of covert and overt hostility toward women on American campuses, some of it is outright illegal behavior, but most of it is subtle," she said. "It makes women feel undervalued and not respected."

The paper said women in the hard sciences face hostility, a chilly campus, unconscious bias and difficulty balancing family and work.

Handelsman said supervising a lab in the hard sciences in academics can mean a 10- to 12-hour day and there is more and more competition for grant money and research funds.

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