Task force on women in the natural sciences and engineering issues report

Princeton University has made considerable progress in attracting and retaining women scientists and engineers during the last decade, but should undertake a wide range of initiatives to address imbalances that remain between women and men in these fields, according to a study conducted by faculty members.

The Task Force on the Status of Women Faculty in the Natural Sciences and Engineering, appointed by President Shirley M. Tilghman and chaired by Professor of Molecular Biology Virginia Zakian, issued the report Sept. 29 after more than a year of analysis and interviews. The task force grew out of a meeting at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in 2001 at which the leaders of nine research universities, including Princeton, pledged to work toward the full inclusion of women in scientific disciplines.

As a first step, the group analyzed hiring records, salaries, the rates at which men and women are granted tenure, the allocation of laboratory space and research funding and other factors. The task force went on to make a series of recommendations, including the appointment of a special assistant to the dean of the faculty to oversee matters of gender equity. The University also announced that appointment on Sept. 29 ( see related release ).

In some respects, the task force's findings showed that progress has been made over the last 10 years. However, progress in hiring women was unevenly distributed among the 14 natural science and engineering departments and the overall numbers of women remained low.

More details are available in a news release . The full report also is available online.

Contact: Lauren Robinson-Brown (609) 258-3601