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Journal of Women and Minorities in Science and Engineering
SJR: 0.468 SNIP: 0.671 CiteScore™: 1.65

ISSN Imprimir: 1072-8325
ISSN On-line: 1940-431X

Journal of Women and Minorities in Science and Engineering

DOI: 10.1615/JWomenMinorScienEng.v9.i34.30
20 pages

WHAT WORKS? INCREASING THE PARTICIPATION OF WOMEN IN UNDERGRADUATE PHYSICS

Barbara L. Whitten
Physics Department, Feminist and Gender Studies Program & Environmental Program, Colorado College, 14 E. Cache la Poudre, Colorado Springs, Colorado 80903, USA
Suzanne R. Foster
Colorado College
Margaret L. Duncombe
Colorado College, USA
Patricia E. Allen
Appalachian State University, USA
Paula Heron
University of Washington
Laura McCullough
University of Wisconsin-Stout
Kimberly A. Shaw
Southern Illinois University at Edwardsville, USA
Beverley A. P. Taylor
Miami University, USA
Heather M. Zorn
University of Washington

RESUMO

The physics community has been concerned about low participation by women for many years. Progress has been made, but the percentage of women in undergraduate physics is still less than half that in mathematics and chemistry. To learn “what works” in attracting and retaining women in the undergraduate physics major, the authors conducted site visits to nine undergraduate physics departments and compared those with high participation by women to those that are typical of the national average. This article details the first results of the research, showing that a strong, inclusive, female-friendly department culture is like a fabric woven on a loom. No one factor is essential, but many small factors weave together to form a sturdy fabric. Institutions, faculty members, and students all have roles to play in creating this culture. Successful schools reach out to introductory students and integrate them into department cultures. Other results of this research will be described in a second publication.


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