How to Level the Playing Field for Women in Science – Advice – The Chronicle of Higher Education

Our most important finding is that family formation damages the academic careers of women but not of men. Having children is a career advantage for men; for women, it is a career killer. And women who do advance through the faculty ranks do so at a high personal price. They are far less likely to be married with children. We see more women than we used to in visible positions, like presidents of Ivy League colleges, but we also see many more women than men who are married with children working in the adjunct-faculty ranks, the “second tier,” and one of the fastest-growing sectors of academe.

The most vulnerable years of a female scientist’s career are the earliest: the graduate-student and postdoc years. The greatest
leak in the science pipeline occurs before women obtain their first tenure-track job, and the major reason is childbirth. Specifically, according to the NSF survey, married mothers are 35 percent less likely than married fathers to obtain a tenure-track job. Single women without children, on the other hand, are almost as likely as men to get that job.

via How to Level the Playing Field for Women in Science – Advice – The Chronicle of Higher Education.

In summary, academia sucks for married/attached women.

Gender disparity in EECS persists |

only 12.4 percent of students in the EECS major at UC Berkeley are female

via Gender disparity in EECS persists |

Well-made clip on gender diversity in EECS at Berkeley.

Somewhat related, it is comforting to learn that gender is not a huge factor in the report titled Ph.D. Student Attrition in the EECS Department at the University of California, Berkeley. The following interpretation is interesting but not fully backed with data.

A possible interpretation of this result … career choices must fit into a larger picture. For men, it is more acceptable to segregate the two. Seymour observed this same phenomenon in a study of undergraduates: “young men… are more willing to place career goals above considerations of personal satisfaction. By contrast, young women show a greater concern to make their education, their career goals, and their personal priorities, fit coherently together.” Another important concept is the idea of the science “mold.” If there are no role-models, no women faculty within the academic mold that appear to enjoy the life graduate student women aspire to achieve, women will seek a career option in which it is easier to integrate career and personal goals.

Ph.D. students rethink the tenure track, scope out non-academic jobs

A survey by UC Berkeley’s Career Center of students who graduated with Ph.D.s between 2007 and 2009 shows that 56 percent got jobs in academia,  with 34 percent of them in tenure-track positions, 45 percent in post-doctoral appointments and 10 percent in non-tenure track faculty posts.

A study published last year in the journal Science suggests only 20 percent of U.S. graduate students in science, technology, engineering and mathematics will land a tenure-track position within four to six years of completing a Ph.D.

That noted, the percentage of UC Berkeley doctoral students landing a tenured faculty position is much higher (57 percent) than the national average of 41 percent.

via Ph.D. students rethink the tenure track, scope out non-academic jobs.

Connected Corridors | CITRIS

Of course commuters, too, make up a self-calibrating and learning system. Turning that fact to the project’s advantage, Connected Corridors has teamed up with Waze, the prime social network for commuters.


Because the project requires the coordination not only of huge data sets, but also of multiple state and local agencies, it has a large policy component as well its core technological ones. “If the agencies and governments cannot cooperate and communicate, this will not work,” says Horowitz.


For now, the system will strictly be a “decision support system.” It will advise human decision makers in real-time on what to do to improve traffic. Eventually, however, the system could be entirely automated, a “decision control system,” says Horowitz. In fact, when areas covered by computational tools become large, interconnected, and complex enough, it may be impossible for any human to understand, in real time, why a particular traffic management strategy would be optimal.

Decisions come with operator-friendly explanations?

via Connected Corridors | CITRIS.

Am I too late to the party?