EXECUTIVE SUMMARY

For several decades, the National Research Council (NRC) has provided the federal government with information needed to develop effective policies for recruiting and retaining individuals in scientific and engineering (S&E) careers. Within the NRC, the Office of Scientific and Engineering Personnel (OSEP) is the focus for providing information and advice on the health of the human resource base. and the Committee on Women in Science and Engineering, established within OSEP in 1990, is charged with undertaking activities to facilitate the entry and retention of a greater number of talented women into careers in scientific and engineering disciplines.

The policy environment for the recruitment and retention of women in science and engineering can be characterized currently by attention to three types of issues: (1) demographic considerations, including the rising proportion of non-U.S. citizens in the U.S. work force; (2) education issues, with emphasis on the low rate of participation of women in the various fields of science and engineering; and (3) employment conditions in the U.S. work force. The decisions that we make about our S&E cadre today will have a significant effect on our ability to find solutions to future problems. Our ultimate success depends upon the degree to which we maximize use of all of the Nation's human resources.

Based on this policy environment, the Committee concludes that there is great potential for increasing the number of women in science and engineering, especially in areas where they are most underrepresented and where the national need is greatest. CWSE has therefore formulated a



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Women in Science and Engineering: Increasing their Numbers in the 1990s EXECUTIVE SUMMARY For several decades, the National Research Council (NRC) has provided the federal government with information needed to develop effective policies for recruiting and retaining individuals in scientific and engineering (S&E) careers. Within the NRC, the Office of Scientific and Engineering Personnel (OSEP) is the focus for providing information and advice on the health of the human resource base. and the Committee on Women in Science and Engineering, established within OSEP in 1990, is charged with undertaking activities to facilitate the entry and retention of a greater number of talented women into careers in scientific and engineering disciplines. The policy environment for the recruitment and retention of women in science and engineering can be characterized currently by attention to three types of issues: (1) demographic considerations, including the rising proportion of non-U.S. citizens in the U.S. work force; (2) education issues, with emphasis on the low rate of participation of women in the various fields of science and engineering; and (3) employment conditions in the U.S. work force. The decisions that we make about our S&E cadre today will have a significant effect on our ability to find solutions to future problems. Our ultimate success depends upon the degree to which we maximize use of all of the Nation's human resources. Based on this policy environment, the Committee concludes that there is great potential for increasing the number of women in science and engineering, especially in areas where they are most underrepresented and where the national need is greatest. CWSE has therefore formulated a

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Women in Science and Engineering: Increasing their Numbers in the 1990s plan of action on four topics. Following the Introduction, each of these topics is discussed in separate chapters within the report: strengthening the S&E education infrastructure, examining the effectiveness of intervention programs in sustaining the flow of women into science and engineering, and exploring career patterns for women in S&E employment, examining the adequacy of data available to measure the participation of women in science and engineering and the effectiveness of interventions designed to increase that participation. S&E Education Infrastructure: identifying educational programs that have been effective in facilitating the recruitment and retention of women in S&E careers, with emphasis on programs at the undergraduate and graduate levels of education; Intervention Strategies: encouraging the development of reliable outcome measures to assess the specific contribution of programs that enhance the flow of women into S&E careers; Career Patterns: developing a program of studies to facilitate the positive employment opportunities related to diversification in the workplace; and exploring issues related to the support infrastructure that makes it

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Women in Science and Engineering: Increasing their Numbers in the 1990s possible for women with family responsibilities to participate in the S&E labor force; Measurement: fostering the development of finer measures of labor force adjustment, including tracking the career paths of postdoctoral personnel. Each chapter concludes with a list of priority issues that the Committee believes warrant particular examination. Finally, in Chapter 6, the Committee delineates priorities for its short-term and long-range activities to increase the participation of women in science and engineering.

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