Other Question #748

Kristina, a 21 year old female from Ottawa, Ontario asks on April 10, 2002,

I was just wondering what the ratio is between male and female scientists?

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The answer

Barry Shell answered on April 10, 2002

A quick check says about 20% women and 80% men, once you get all the way to a life career in science. Interestingly, this is also the ratio in our scientist profile section. According to Sara Swenson, past president of the Society for Canadian Women in Science and Technology:

"This is a hard question to answer because you'd have to ask in what field and in what country/continent. In research labs in all the biological sciences, there are often more women than men, but the professor may be a man. Undergraduate enrollment in biological sciences can be more than 50% women, while in physics it may be 10%, computing science 20% etc. At the higher levels, there are fewer women professors both in industry and academia. There is a steadily declining percentage from what the university undergrad enrollment is in all scientific fields to the numbers of women in research labs, industry, academia, etc. This is especially true when you get to the top of the scientific profession--CEOs of science and technology companies (Micheline Bouchard is past-CEO of Motorola-Canada), university presidents (although Shirley Tilghman was just appointed President of Princeton and Martha Piper is President of UBC), and even full professors in academia and research managers in industry. Most are men.

For statistics and information on BC women scientists, you can look at a WISTTE report posted at Memorial University called Where are the Women?."

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