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Updated 11:50 AM October 25, 2007




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Physics head addresses barriers for female science faculty

Increasing the number of female faculty members in science disciplines will take many efforts across many fronts, according to the head of the U-M Physics Department.

At a hearing last week in Washington, D.C., Myron Campbell told a House Science and Technology subcommittee that there is no "magic bullet" to solve the problem of low numbers of women in scientific fields.

"A major problem is the climate and how women are treated," Campbell said. "Bringing in additional female faculty must be accompanied by improving the climate."

Among his recommendations, Campbell cited continued funding by the National Science Foundation for the ADVANCE program, which is designed to increase female participation in science and engineering careers. He also said the pipeline of women narrows at each stage of education and this could be addressed through open, broad-based searches for talented faculty. He also proposed changes that prohibit using federal dollars to allow female faculty with nursing or infant children to pay for day care at conferences in order to allow them to fully participate.

"Women represent about half of our entering undergraduates interested in science and engineering, yet they represent a much smaller fraction of our scientific workforce," Campbell said. "We all must work to remove barriers."

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