[House Hearing, 110 Congress]
[From the U.S. Government Printing Office]
FULFILLING THE POTENTIAL OF
WOMEN IN ACADEMIC SCIENCE AND
ENGINEERING ACT OF 2008
SUBCOMMITTEE ON RESEARCH AND
COMMITTEE ON SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY
HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES
ONE HUNDRED TENTH CONGRESS
MAY 8, 2008
Serial No. 110-100
Printed for the use of the Committee on Science and Technology
Available via the World Wide Web: http://www.science.house.gov
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COMMITTEE ON SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY
HON. BART GORDON, Tennessee, Chairman
JERRY F. COSTELLO, Illinois RALPH M. HALL, Texas
EDDIE BERNICE JOHNSON, Texas F. JAMES SENSENBRENNER JR.,
LYNN C. WOOLSEY, California Wisconsin
MARK UDALL, Colorado LAMAR S. SMITH, Texas
DAVID WU, Oregon DANA ROHRABACHER, California
BRIAN BAIRD, Washington ROSCOE G. BARTLETT, Maryland
BRAD MILLER, North Carolina VERNON J. EHLERS, Michigan
DANIEL LIPINSKI, Illinois FRANK D. LUCAS, Oklahoma
NICK LAMPSON, Texas JUDY BIGGERT, Illinois
GABRIELLE GIFFORDS, Arizona W. TODD AKIN, Missouri
JERRY MCNERNEY, California JO BONNER, Alabama
LAURA RICHARDSON, California TOM FEENEY, Florida
PAUL KANJORSKI, Pennsylvania RANDY NEUGEBAUER, Texas
DARLENE HOOLEY, Oregon BOB INGLIS, South Carolina
STEVEN R. ROTHMAN, New Jersey DAVID G. REICHERT, Washington
JIM MATHESON, Utah MICHAEL T. MCCAUL, Texas
MIKE ROSS, Arkansas MARIO DIAZ-BALART, Florida
BEN CHANDLER, Kentucky PHIL GINGREY, Georgia
RUSS CARNAHAN, Missouri BRIAN P. BILBRAY, California
CHARLIE MELANCON, Louisiana ADRIAN SMITH, Nebraska
BARON P. HILL, Indiana PAUL C. BROUN, Georgia
HARRY E. MITCHELL, Arizona
CHARLES A. WILSON, Ohio
Subcommittee on Research and Science Education
HON. BRIAN BAIRD, Washington, Chairman
EDDIE BERNICE JOHNSON, Texas VERNON J. EHLERS, Michigan
DANIEL LIPINSKI, Illinois ROSCOE G. BARTLETT, Maryland
JERRY MCNERNEY, California RANDY NEUGEBAUER, Texas
DARLENE HOOLEY, Oregon DAVID G. REICHERT, Washington
RUSS CARNAHAN, Missouri BRIAN P. BILBRAY, California
BARON P. HILL, Indiana
BART GORDON, Tennessee RALPH M. HALL, Texas
JIM WILSON Subcommittee Staff Director
DAHLIA SOKOLOV Democratic Professional Staff Member
MELE WILLIAMS Republican Professional Staff Member
BESS CAUGHRAN Research Assistant
C O N T E N T S
May 8, 2008
Witness List..................................................... 2
Hearing Charter.................................................. 3
Statement by Representative Brian Baird, Chairman, Subcommittee
on Research and Science Education, Committee on Science and
Technology, U.S. House of Representatives...................... 9
Written Statement............................................ 9
Statement by Representative Vernon J. Ehlers, Ranking Minority
Member, Subcommittee on Research and Science Education,
Committee on Science and Technology, U.S. House of
Written Statement............................................ 10
Prepared Statement by Representative Eddie Bernice Johnson,
Member, Subcommittee on Research and Science Education,
Committee on Science and Technology, U.S. House of
Prepared Statement by Representative Russ Carnahan, Member,
Subcommittee on Research and Science Education, Committee on
Science and Technology, U.S. House of Representatives.......... 11
Dr. Lynda T. Carlson, Director, Division of Science Resources
Statistics (SRS), National Science Foundation (NSF)
Oral Statement............................................... 12
Written Statement............................................ 13
Dr. Linda G. Blevins, Senior Technical Advisor, Office of the
Deputy Director for Science Programs, U.S. Department of Energy
Oral Statement............................................... 16
Written Statement............................................ 17
Dr. Donna K. Ginther, Associate Professor, Department of
Economics; Director, Center for Economic and Business Analysis,
University of Kansas
Oral Statement............................................... 22
Written Statement............................................ 23
Appendix 1: Answers to Post-Hearing Questions
Dr. Lynda T. Carlson, Director, Division of Science Resources
Statistics (SRS), National Science Foundation (NSF)............ 40
Dr. Linda G. Blevins, Senior Technical Advisor, Office of the
Deputy Director for Science Programs, U.S. Department of Energy 41
Dr. Donna K. Ginther, Associate Professor, Department of
Economics; Director, Center for Economic and Business Analysis,
University of Kansas........................................... 42
Appendix 2: Additional Material for the Record
Discussion Draft of the Fulfilling the Potential of Women in
Academic Science and Engineering Act of 2008................... 44
Letter to The Honorable Eddie Bernice Johnson from Lisa M. Maatz,
Director of Public Policy and Government Relations, the
American Association of University Women, dated May 7, 2008.... 53
Letter to The Honorable Eddie Bernice Johnson from Lisa M. Maatz,
Chair, National Coalition for Women and Girls in Education, and
Jocelyn Samuels, Vice Chair, NCWGE, dated May 7, 2008.......... 54
FULFILLING THE POTENTIAL OF WOMEN IN ACADEMIC SCIENCE AND ENGINEERING
ACT OF 2008
THURSDAY, MAY 8, 2008
House of Representatives,
Subcommittee on Research and Science Education,
Committee on Science and Technology,
The Subcommittee met, pursuant to call, at 10:00 a.m., in
Room 2318 of the Rayburn House Office Building, Hon. Brian
Baird [Chairman of the Subcommittee] presiding.
SUBCOMMITTEE ON RESEARCH AND SCIENCE EDUCATION
COMMITTEE ON SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY
U.S. HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES
Fulfilling the Potential of
Women in Academic Science and
Engineering Act of 2008
thursday, may 8, 2008
10:00 a.m.-12:00 p.m.
2318 rayburn house office building
On October 17, 2007, the Research and Science Education
Subcommittee held a hearing on Women in Academic Science and
Engineering, during which we examined institutional and cultural
barriers to recruitment and retention of women faculty in science and
engineering fields, best practices for overcoming these barriers, and
the role that federal research agencies can play in disseminating and
promoting best practices.
On Thursday, May 8, the Subcommittee will hold a hearing to obtain
comments on a draft bill that would provide for federal programs to
address the needs discussed in the previous hearing.
Dr. Lynda T. Carlson, Director of the Division of
Science Resource Statistics, Directorate for Social, Behavioral
and Economic Sciences, National Science Foundation.
Dr. Linda G. Blevins, Senior Technical Advisor in the
Office of the Deputy Director for Science Programs, Office of
Science, Department of Energy.
Dr. Donna K. Ginther, Associate Professor of
Economics and Director of the Center for Economic and Business
Analysis, Institute for Policy Research, University of Kansas.
3. Overarching Questions
What are the elements of an effective program of
workshops to educate participants about gender bias in academic
science and engineering and to provide them with strategies to
overcome such bias? By what metrics should such workshops be
What demographics data do federal science agencies
already collect in their grant making processes? What
demographics data do universities collect on their faculty
search and hiring, tenure review and promotion processes? What
data are needed to better understand and track gender
disparities in academic science and engineering?
Does the proposed legislation adequately address the
federal role in programs and policies to help overcome cultural
and institutional barriers to gender equity in academic science
Although women earn half of the Bachelor's degrees in
science and engineering (S&E), they continue to be
significantly under-represented at the faculty level in almost
all S&E fields, constituting 30 percent (in 2006) of full-time
doctoral science and engineering faculty at U.S. colleges and
universities and only 19 percent of full professors.
In 2006, the National Academies produced a report
entitled, Beyond Bias and Barriers: Fulfilling the Potential of
Women in Academic Science and Engineering. The National
Academies panel, in addition to dismissing the relative
significance of any biological differences (in response to
former Harvard President Lawrence Summers' February 2005
remarks on this topic), made a series of recommendations to all
stakeholders, including universities, professional societies
and the Federal Government, to address cultural and
institutional gender bias in academic S&E.
On October 17, 2007, the Research and Science
Education Subcommittee held a hearing on Women in Academic
Science and Engineering in which we explored broadly the
findings and recommendations of the National Academies panel.
Sections 5 and 6 below are taken directly from the 2007 hearing
charter, except for updates where more recent data have become
Today the Subcommittee will receive comments on draft
legislation that incorporates several of the recommendations
from the National Academies panel that were also discussed
during the previous hearing, including workshops to increase
awareness of implicit gender bias in grant review, hiring,
tenure, promotion, and selection for other honors based on
merit; extended grant support for caregivers; and improved
demographic data collection on federal grant-making.
5. Current Status of Women in Academic Science and Engineering
According to data compiled by NSF, in 2006, women held 30 percent
of all full-time science and engineering (S&E) faculty positions at
U.S. colleges and universities. Specifically, they constituted 19
percent of full professors, 34 percent of associate professors and 42
percent of junior professors, a category that includes both instructors
at two-year colleges and assistant professors at four-year
As seen in this figure from the Beyond Bias and Barriers report,
most of the social science disciplines and psychology are already
dominated by women at both the graduate level and in faculty positions.
The percentage of women earning Ph.D.s in other S&E fields has grown
steadily in the last 30 years, and has already exceeded 50 percent in
the life sciences. However, in 2003 women constituted 34 percent of
assistant professor appointments in the life sciences, and slightly
less at research universities. Half of this drop-off can be accounted
for by including only the available pool of Ph.D.s\1\ in the life
sciences: 42 percent in 2003. But attrition is still high in the step
from completion of training to faculty appointment. Female under-
representation in life sciences faculties continues through the
associate and full professor levels. Notably, while the physical
sciences continue to have low representation at the graduate level (20
percent), relative to the available pool of Ph.D.s the physical
sciences actually show better representation for women in tenure-track
faculty positions than the life sciences and other fields with a
greater percentage of women Ph.D.s.
\1\ In the case of assistant professor appointments, the available
pool is the sum of Ph.D.s earned by women in the six-year period
We present the 2003 data in this charter because those data were
analyzed and presented in a way that more recent data have not been.
However, since the last hearing, NSF has published 2006 data as part of
Science and Engineering Indicators 2008. From 2003 to 2006, the
representation of women in full-time senior faculty positions
(associate and full professors) at all universities has increased by
one to two percent in all of the major natural sciences fields--where
chemistry is included in physical sciences--and by just under one
percent in engineering. Not surprisingly, psychology and the social
sciences saw slightly larger increases, but in no S&E field other than
psychology do women represent more than 30 percent of senior faculty
Women who start out on academic pathways in S&E fields leave for
other career paths at higher rates than their male counterparts, even
though for the fields in which attrition is highest, women show
increased representation at the post-doctoral level. Post-doctoral
positions are a necessary prerequisite to faculty jobs in most S&E
fields. From among those who leave post-faculty appointment but pre-
tenure review, men are more likely to move into other employment
sectors and women are more likely to move into adjunct positions.
However, in most fields, women and men faculty who are reviewed receive
tenure at similar rates. As faculty move up in rank, there are again
differences between men and women, this time in promotions, awards and
6. Institutional and Cultural Bias and Barriers
In 2006, the National Academies produced a report entitled, Beyond
Bias and Barriers: Fulfilling the Potential of Women in Academic
Science and Engineering. The report was largely in response to the
outcry over then Harvard President Lawrence Summers' 2005 remarks, in
which he attributed what many thought to be a greatly exaggerated level
of significance to a biological explanation for female under-
representation in academic S&E. The NAS panel reviewed the existing
literature on gender differences in cognition and biology and concluded
that, ``if systematic differences between male and female scientific
and mathematical aptitude and ability do exist, it is clear that they
cannot account for women's under-representation in academic science and
engineering.'' \2\ Instead, the panel focused on the need to fix
institutional, social and cultural bias and barriers.
\2\ Critics of the NAS report disparage the panel for dismissing
the significance of biology before all of the scientific evidence is
To this end, the National Academies panel made a number of
recommendations to all stakeholders. The panel called on university
presidents and provosts to provide clear leadership in changing the
culture and structure of their institutions, and deans and department
chairs to take responsibility for implementing changes to recruiting,
hiring, promotion, and tenure practices. They recommended that higher
education organizations form an inter-institution monitoring
organization and that scientific and professional societies help set
professional and equity standards across the activities they lead, such
as awards and conferences. The recommendations made to the Federal
Government ranged from rigorous enforcement of federal anti-
discrimination laws by enforcement agencies, to better data collection,
to provision of workshops to minimize gender bias by NSF and other
federal funding agencies. The full list of recommendations is in the
report summary: http://books.nap.edu/
The status of women in academic S&E has improved appreciably in the
last three decades, and institutions across the country are continuing
to address institutional barriers to gender equity. However, the
National Academies panel argues that changes in institutional policies
are necessary but not sufficient--even many policies that appear on the
surface to be equitable in fact disadvantage women. For example, many
women who want children struggle with the intersection of the tenure
clock and their biological clock. Many more men are also making work/
life balance career decisions.\3\ In order to attract top faculty
candidates who want both career and family, a number of universities
offer the possibility of an extension of the tenure clock--the number
of years to tenure review--for assistant professors who have a child
while under the clock. But in most cases young faculty feel pressure
not to request this extension for fear that they will be judged
differently in the tenure review process. In this case, cultural norms
undermine a well-intentioned policy, and women, who are more often the
primary caregivers for infants (especially if they breast feed), are
disproportionably disadvantaged. Some universities have instituted an
automatic rather than voluntary extension of the tenure clock in an
attempt to overcome those cultural barriers.
\3\ Currently, 42 percent of women in tenure and tenure-track
careers have children, while 50 percent of their male colleagues have
The report also discusses at length a phenomenon known as
``implicit bias,'' in this case an implicit assumption of what a
scientist is supposed to look like, i.e., a man, and probably a white
man. The panel cites a Swedish\4\ study of peer-review scores, in which
men received systematically higher competence ratings by their peers
than equally productive women. In fact, women post-doctoral fellowship
applicants included in that study had to be twice as productive (as
measured by defined, quantitative measures of productivity) than their
male counterparts to be judged equally competent. A similar claim has
just been reported in Nature News by a woman physicist who was a post-
doctoral fellow at DOE's Fermi Lab in Illinois until 2005.\5\ This
field of research is still relatively young, but the collection of
evidence supporting the notion of implicit gender bias in academic S&E
continues to grow. Minority-group women, as members of two major
demographic groups historically excluded from the scientific
enterprise, face their own unique set of challenges.
\4\ Sweden has been named by the United Nations as a world leader
in gender equity.
\5\ Nature News, Vol. 452, 24 April 2008, Pg. 918.
The list of cultural norms that appear to disadvantage women also
includes the favoring of disciplinary over interdisciplinary research
and publications, and the only token attention given to teaching and
other service during the tenure review process.\6\ Thus it seems that
it is not necessarily conscious bias against women but an ingrained
idea of how the academic enterprise ``should be'' that presents the
greatest challenge to women seeking academic S&E careers. Overcoming
these cultural barriers is much more difficult than just enforcing
anti-discrimination laws or making university policies more family
friendly. And even among those who passionately advocate for change,
there is no consensus about how or if to modify some of those core
practices that have defined the academic enterprise for generations.
\6\ While the reasons are unclear, it appears that women are more
likely to engage in interdisciplinary and collaborative research, and
to put more energy and time into teaching and mentoring activities than
their male colleagues.
7. Workshops on Gender Bias
In January 2006, officials from the Department of Energy (DOE), NSF
and National Institutes of Health partnered in support of a workshop on
gender bias for chemistry department chairs from across the country.
The goal for this conference was to ``develop and implement strategies
to significantly increase the number of women chemists in tenured
academic positions in our research universities and eliminate the
gender biases that negatively impact their career progress.'' In
addition to department chairs, participants included lab heads from DOE
National Labs and representatives of societies and federations. The
workshop did result in a report of the challenges and issues
addressed.\7\ However, the federal agencies did not sponsor any long-
term follow-up of the departments whose chairs participated. The
physics community followed with a similar workshop in May 2007.\8\
Today's DOE witness participated as an advisor in both the chemistry
and physics workshops and will address the elements of an effective
workshop in addition to metrics for evaluation.
8. Questions for Witnesses
The draft bill requires federal science agencies to
collect annual composite information on demographics, field,
award type and budget request, review score, and funding
outcome for all applications for research grants to
universities supported by those agencies. How much of these
data are already collected by the National Science Foundation
(NSF) for their own grants? What level of effort and resources
are required by NSF to collect all of the data as listed in the
Assuming that the Director of the Office of Science
and Technology Policy established a uniform policy for
collecting and reporting such data based on the NSF model, what
level of effort and resources would be required of NSF to store
and publish the data from all of the federal science agencies?
Based on your own experience in helping to organize
workshops to address gender bias in the chemistry and physics
communities in 2006 and 2007, what are the elements of an
effective workshop? In answering this question, please address
workshop content, format, speakers, and participant categories,
in addition to any other elements that are important to an
What metrics should be used to evaluate the success
of such workshops in changing individual behavior and
institutional culture related to gender equity in academic
science and engineering?
Are there challenges in overcoming gender bias that
are unique to the National Laboratories? Should the workshops
have sessions that are tailored specifically to National
What data are needed to better understand gender
disparities in university departments of science and
The draft bill provides for a program of workshops on
gender bias in academic science and engineering. What are the
elements of an effective workshop? In answering this question,
please address workshop content, format, speakers, and
participant categories, in addition to any other elements that
are important to an effective workshop. What metrics should be
used to evaluate the success of such workshops in changing
individual behavior and institutional culture related to gender
equity in academic science and engineering?
The draft bill requires a uniform federal policy for
extending the period of grant support for federally funded
researchers with caregiving responsibilities. Do you have any
recommendations for what such a policy should look like?
Does the proposed legislation adequately address the
federal role in programs and policies to help overcome cultural
and institutional barriers to gender equity in academic science
Chairman Baird. I want to thank everyone for joining us for
this very important hearing on the role of women in science and
ways we can continue to support advanced practice among women
in science. We have had a number of hearings in this
subcommittee on this. My dear friend and Ranking Member, Dr.
Ehlers, is very interested in it, and of course, Eddie Bernice
Johnson, the author of the legislation before us today is quite
interested in this as well.
Under normal circumstances I would have a long statement
written for me by staff, but we have votes on the Floor
possibly fairly early this morning, and in the interest of
hearing witnesses, I will enter my own opening remarks into the
record and would recognize now Dr. Ehlers for comments if he
wishes to make some.
[The prepared statement of Chairman Baird follows:]
Prepared Statement of Chairman Brian Baird
Good morning and welcome to this hearing on the discussion draft of
Fulfilling the Potential of Women in Academic Science and Engineering
Act of 2008. I want to thank my dear friend Ms. Johnson for bringing
this important legislative proposal before the Subcommittee.
According to NSF, women earned more than half of all science and
engineering Bachelor's degrees in 2005, although they continue to earn
only 20 percent in engineering, computer science, and physics.
Similarly, while there remain considerable differences across fields,
women are receiving science and engineering Ph.D.s in steadily
increasing numbers. However, even in the life sciences where women now
earn more than 50 percent of Ph.D.s, they hold only 30 percent of all
associate and full professor faculty positions--and that's by far the
highest number for all natural science and engineering fields.
In October of last year, we held a hearing on Women in Academic
Science and Engineering to review the findings and recommendations of a
National Academies panel that carefully examined the reasons why the
attrition rate for women in academic science and engineering continues
to be higher than for men at every step along the academic pipeline.
The panel found that most of the barriers to women in academia are
not created with intent to discriminate. In fact, even policies that
seem gender-neutral in theory might not be so in practice. They
recommended that federal science agencies sponsor workshops on gender
bias in order to raise awareness of and provide strategies to overcome
the collective effect of many small and subtle incidents of
subconscious bias that are often built into academic culture. The draft
bill under consideration creates a program of such workshops.
The National Academies panel also highlighted the need for better
data collection, to understand the extent of gender inequity and to
have a basis for evaluating policies to address the gap. The draft bill
therefore requires federal science agencies to collect detailed
demographic data on the grant making process, and encourages
universities to collect better data for the purposes of evaluating the
gender bias workshops.
In today's hearing we seek feedback on these and other provisions
of the Fulfilling the Potential of Women in Academic Science and
Engineering Act of 2008. We also welcome suggestions for other programs
or language that we might consider including.
We cannot afford to continue losing our best and brightest women
from academic science and engineering careers. The programs in this
bill are a small but critical part of what is needed to tackle the
barriers that women face. But Congress has a limited role in helping to
overcome what are ultimately cultural and institutional barriers. The
universities, disciplinary societies, funding agencies and other
stakeholders need to step up to do their part, and I am happy to see
such a movement starting to take hold.
I want to thank Congresswoman Johnson once again for her tireless
work to promote the role of women and minorities in science and
engineering. I thank all of the witnesses for being here today and I
look forward to your testimony.
Mr. Ehlers. Thank you, Mr. Chairman, and I would agree on
that. I don't have a long opening statement. I have a short
one. Nevertheless, I ask consent to enter it into the record
and also just want to thank Dr. Ginther for being here. I've
had the pleasure of talking to her on the telephone, persuaded
her to come, and I very much look forward to her testimony. I
am sure she has much to offer to this hearing.
[The prepared statement of Mr. Ehlers follows:]
Prepared Statement of Representative Vernon J. Ehlers
Today we are examining legislation introduced by my colleague,
Congresswoman Johnson from Texas, which addresses the biases and
barriers women face in science and engineering faculty departments. I
thank Representative Johnson for preparing this thoughtful legislation
and appreciate her willingness to delve into the details and receive
testimony from our witnesses today.
In October this subcommittee held a hearing on the challenges faced
by female faculty in science and engineering. Our witnesses were a
dynamic group who spoke about the institutional changes needed and
highlighted some of the programs the Federal Government currently
supports in this area. We learned that effective institutional change
must be systemic, and that sometimes bias hides behind even the
simplest language used in recommendation letters.
Today we are going to talk about specific actions the Congress can
take to address these biases. I hope that we are able to take what we
learn from our witnesses today and incorporate some of their ideas into
the final legislation. All of us want to ensure that equitable
educational opportunities for women pursuing faculty positions are the
norm and not the anomaly at U.S. colleges and universities. Important
to this effort is making certain that we have a good understanding of
the current situation so that we can be sure that federal efforts
achieve the intended impact.
I look forward to hearing from our witnesses today.
[The prepared statement of Ms. Johnson follows:]
Prepared Statement of Representative Eddie Bernice Johnson
Thank you, Mr. Chairman. The National Academies report, Beyond Bias
and Barriers, provided clear guidelines to universities, federal
agencies, professional organizations and to Congress on what actions to
take to reduce gender bias at the university faculty level.
As the legislation has developed, there has been a faint expression
of concern over being heavy-handed with our scientists and
One thing that I hope to learn from today's hearing, as well as
from feedback submitted to the Science Committee, is how we can
encourage university presidents and provosts to provide clear
leadership in changing the culture and structure of their institutions,
and deans and department chairs to take responsibility for implementing
changes to recruiting, hiring, promotion, and tenure practices.
Beyond Bias and Barriers also recommended that higher education
organizations form an inter-institution monitoring organization, and
that scientific and professional societies help set professional and
equity standards for the activities that they lead, such as awards and
I have attempted to incentivize the formation of such an inter-
institution monitoring organization, through a one-time competitive
grant through the Department of Education's Fund for the Improvement of
The provision was accepted into the Higher Education Act, but
during conference, it was stripped out.
I am frustrated, Mr. Chairman, by the uphill battle in getting
equality for women when it comes to reaching the higher echelons of
As stated in Beyond Bias and Barriers, ``if systematic differences
between male and female scientific and mathematical aptitude and
ability do exist, it is clear that they cannot account for women's
under-representation in academic science and engineering.''
While I do not intend to be heavy-handed toward our universities, I
do feel that not nearly enough is being done to educate persons of
influence on the subtle gender bias that exists and is holding women
back from achieving at the same level as men.
Why have our federal agencies not already developed institutional
policies that are sensitive to women scientists?
Why is there no federal guideline for administrative leave for the
purpose of caregiving?
Why is there no funding mechanism to provide for interim technical
or administrative support during a leave of absence related to care
Why is there no centralized, federal policy to extend grant support
time-tables for researchers who take a care giving leave of absence?
What are federal agencies doing to protect whistleblowers who speak
out when anti-discrimination laws are not enforced?
Why is NSF's Survey of Earned Doctorates suddenly repressing data
on women and minorities in science?
Mr. Chairman, for the record, I am submitting the most recent
report, from 2006, entitled, ``2006 Doctorate Recipients from United
States Universities: Summary Report.'' \1\
\1\ An updated version of the 2006 Doctorate Recipients from United
States Universities: Summary Report is available at http://
www.norc.org/projects/survey+of+earned+doctorates.htm. The version of
the report Representative Johnson refers to is available at the Science
and Technology Committee main office, located in Room 2321 of the
Rayburn House Office Building.
Beginning with the very first data table, A-1, the NSF suppresses
data when the numbers are small--the reason given is to ``protect
Look for yourselves. The data suppression begins on page 113, and
it stretches all the way to page 174.
Mr. Chairman, any scientist worth her salt will tell you that
incomplete data is not worthy of publication.
This is exactly the kind of practice that we must stop. I will
fight this for as long as I am in Congress and long afterwards.
I am also submitting an article from Inside Higher Education that
highlights the NSF's suppression of this critical data on women and
minority Ph.D. attainment.
I am ashamed that the NSF has suppressed this data. I hope that
Jaqui C. Falkenheim, the NSF project manager for the survey, or whoever
at that agency decided that this was a good idea, will be told that
they are wrong.
I strongly recommend that the NSF immediately return to full
disclosure of data reporting--even if the numbers are embarrassingly
small--so that taxpayers, including myself, can understand the complete
truth about the sad state of women and minority achievement in the
sciences in our nation.
With that said, I want to thank you, Mr. Chairman, and Ranking
Member Ehlers, for your attention to this bill.
I thank the Diversity & Innovation Caucus for pushing this issue as
I thank the American Association of University Women, National
Coalition for Women and Girls in Education, the Society of Women
Engineers, the National Science Teachers Association, the American
Chemical Society and others for supporting this bill.
The American Association of University Women and the National
Coalition for Women and Girls in Education have both written support
letters, and I ask your permission to also submit these for the record.
Thank you for your indulgence, Mr. Chairman. I yield back.
[The prepared statement of Mr. Carnahan follows:]
Prepared Statement of Representative Russ Carnahan
Mr. Chairman, thank you for hosting this important hearing on the
role of gender in science and engineering.
While the status of women in science and engineering academia has
improved over the last three decades, there are still barriers to
achieving gender equity. NSF published 2006 data in Science and
Engineering Indicators 2008 that demonstrated some increases in women
represented in full-time senior faculty positions at all universities.
However, women represent no more than 30 percent of senior faculty
positions in science and engineering fields other than psychology. This
is an unfortunate statistic and one that the draft legislation under
the Committee's consideration today seeks to address.
One of the proposals included are workshops to increase awareness
of implicit gender bias in grant review, hiring, tenure, promotion, and
selection for other honors based on merit. I realize that one such
workshop occurred recently at the Department of Energy and look forward
to hearing Dr. Blevins' opinions about the workshop's successes and/or
I would like to thank today's witnesses, Dr. Carlson, Dr. Blevins
and Dr. Ginther. I look forward to hearing all of our witness's
Chairman Baird. I thank all of the witnesses. Dr. Ginther,
you know it is hard to turn down our good friend, Dr. Ehlers.
And I thank all our witnesses. And with that, I will introduce
the witnesses so that we can begin the testimony.
Dr. Lynda T. Carlson is the Director of the Division of
Science Resource Statistics in the Directorate for Social,
Behavioral and Economic Sciences at the National Science
Foundation. Dr. Linda G. Blevins is Senior Technical Advisor in
the Office of the Deputy Director for Science Programs at the
Department of Energy. And Dr. Donna K. Ginther, as introduced
by Dr. Ehlers, is an Associate Professor of Economics and the
Director for the Center for Economic and Business Analysis in
the Institute for Policy Research at the University of Kansas.
As our witnesses should know, we ask folks to limit their
testimony to five minutes and then we follow by questions. This
is generally a friendly, bipartisan committee. It is not like
the spooky ones you see on TV. So we look forward to your
comments, we will have good discussion, and I thank you for
STATEMENT OF DR. LYNDA T. CARLSON, DIRECTOR, DIVISION OF
SCIENCE RESOURCES STATISTICS (SRS), NATIONAL SCIENCE FOUNDATION
Dr. Carlson. Chairman Baird, Ranking Member Ehlers, and
Members of the Subcommittee, I am Lynda Carlson, Director of
NSF's Division of Science Resources Statistics or SRS. I
appreciate the opportunity to appear before you today.
SRS is one of the 14 major statistical agencies, and our
major responsibility is for data collection and analysis
related to the entire science enterprise. We produce biennial
Science and Engineering Indicators as well as Women, Minorities
and Persons with Disabilities in Science and Engineering
reports. NSF cannot support the proposed legislation as the
data collection and analysis requirements will be excessive.
Let me illustrate with these examples.
First, NSF itself as part of the grants process currently
collects annual composite information on demographics, field,
award type, budget request, review score, and funding outcomes
for all of its proposals and awards. However, principal
investigators, or PIs, are not, nor can they be required to
provide demographic information as a condition of obtaining an
award because of the Privacy Act. Hence, the demographic
information collected is incomplete. For example, the number of
PIs who submitted proposals and did not declare a race or
ethnicity in 2007 was nearly as large as those who provided a
response. And over the last 10 years, the proportion of new
principal investigators reporting their gender has declined.
Second, I will refer to some lessons we learned in
conducting two surveys that characterize R&D conducted in the
federal sector, survey of Federal Funds for Research and
Development and Survey of Federal Science and Engineering
Support to Universities, Colleges, and Nonprofit Institutions.
For these surveys, SRS must obtain data from science funding
agencies on the type of activity supported and on the funding
recipient. It has been increasingly difficult for SRS to obtain
high-quality data in a timely manner from the queried agencies.
Agencies do not usually keep detailed information about the
science fields that they support. And even when an agency does
maintain data by field, it may not conform to SRS's data
In short, different agencies maintain their records in
quite different ways to meet their particular needs, and SRS
does not have the authority to require funding agencies to
maintain or transfer needed data.
As a result of such issues, SRS commissioned the National
Research Council's Committee on National Statistics to form a
panel and hold a series of workshops to assist us in revising
these surveys. The panel was recently formed, and the first
workshop will be held in June of 2008. The resulting
recommendations are expected to be released in early 2009.
A third and final example speaks to efforts to collect data
on gender. The NSF Authorization Act of 2002 required NSF to
examine differences in amounts requested and award by gender in
major federal external grants. SRS contracted with the RAND
Corporation to conduct the survey. The results were released in
2005. For this study we had intended to collect data on grants
by gender from NSF, USDA, all of HHS, and the Departments of
Defense and Energy.
Data collection was only feasible from NSF, NIH, and USDA.
Adequate data on grants, applications, and awards were not
available for the Department of Defense or Energy or the
remainder of HHS. From this effort we learned that better
tracking of gender differences will require that all agencies
maintain a data system that stores information on all grants
and investigators and that all agencies include key personnel
characteristics for each investigator in the application form,
among other requirements.
Mr. Chairman, I hope that these examples illustrate the
complexities of the data collection requirements called for in
this legislation. The Chief Financial Officer's Grants Policy
Committee, which is charged with oversight of government-wide
grants policy initiatives, might be able to provide additional
insight into such a data collection.
[The prepared statement of Dr. Carlson follows:]
Prepared Statement of Lynda T. Carlson
Chairman Baird, Ranking Member Ehlers, and Members of the
Subcommittee, I am Lynda Carlson, Director of the Division of Science
Resources Statistics (SRS) within the National Science Foundation
(NSF). I appreciate the opportunity to testify on Representative
Johnson's proposed legislation on gender biases and barriers. However,
NSF cannot support the proposed legislation as its requirements will be
excessive as they exceed current data collection capabilities.
NSF's Division of Science Resources Statistics (SRS)
The Division of Science Resources Statistics (SRS) is the federal
statistical agency responsible for data collection and analysis related
to the entire science and engineering (S&E) enterprise. The Division's
responsibilities include data collections and analyses related to the
S&E workforce, the education of scientists and engineers, and research
and development (R&D), including federal funding of R&D. We annually
collect data on R&D in academe and industry, and we periodically
collect data on R&D funding activities by states and nonprofits. SRS
staff is responsible for writing and producing the biennial Science and
Engineering Indicators report for the National Science Board, as well
as the biennial report Women, Minorities and Persons with Disabilities
in Science and Engineering, which is required under Section 37 of the
Science and Engineering Equal Opportunities Act.
Data Collection on Grants Portfolio
NSF currently collects annual composite information on
demographics, field, award type and budget request, review score and
funding outcome for NSF proposals and awards. NSF publishes a summary
of these data in the annual Merit Review Report, including principal
investigator (PI) demographics on proposals and awards. However, PIs
are not, nor can they be, required to provide demographic information
because of the Privacy Act; therefore, the demographic information
collected is incomplete. For example, the number of PIs who submitted
proposals and did not declare a race/ethnicity in 2007 is nearly as
large as the number who declared minority status. In the last ten
years, the proportion of new PIs who choose to report their gender has
Furthermore, the process for collecting and correlating review
scores across programs and directorates within NSF is complex. For
example, differences in average review scores across programs and field
of research are as likely to reflect different reviewer community norms
as to reflect differences in the actual quality of proposals received.
Given the variety of review processes and scoring systems used
throughout Federal Government, coupled with the complexity of
correlating scores even within agencies, it would be virtually
impossible for SRS to provide a report to Congress with review scores
that are in any way comparable across the federal science agencies.
Lessons Learned from Other SRS Surveys
Over the last several years, SRS has been in the process of
redesigning two surveys that characterize R&D conducted in the federal
sector: (1) ``Survey of Federal Funds for Research and Development,''
or Federal Funds Survey; and (2) ``Survey of Federal Science and
Engineering Support to Universities, Colleges, and Nonprofit
Institutions,'' or Federal Support Survey. The surveys are being
redesigned to better reflect how R&D is actually conducted in today's
economy. The redesign was guided in part by a 2005 study that SRS
commissioned from the National Research Council's Committee on National
Statistics (CNSTAT), entitled ``Measuring Research and Development
Expenditures in the U.S. Economy.''
For the two aforementioned surveys, SRS must obtain data from S&E
funding agencies on the type of activity supported and on the recipient
of the funding, among other indicators. It has been increasingly
difficult for SRS to obtain high quality data in a timely manner from
the queried agencies. Moreover, agencies do not usually keep detailed
information about the fields of S&E that they support. Further, even
when the agency does maintain data by field, those data may not conform
to SRS's data categorization system. Different agencies maintain their
records in quite different ways to meet their particular needs and
operating procedures. SRS may have to work with individual agencies for
significant periods of time to obtain more comparable data. Because of
poor data quality and incomplete agency reporting, data on field of S&E
research has not been collected as part of the Federal Support Survey
In response to the issues we have encountered in conducting these
two surveys, SRS has commissioned CNSTAT to form a panel and hold a
series of workshops to assist us in their revision. The panel,
``Modernizing the Infrastructure of the NSF Federal Funds Survey,'' was
recently formed, and the first workshop will be held in June 2008. The
panel's report and recommendations, which may help streamline data
collection for SRS, are expected to be released in early 2009.
As part of the redesign effort for another SRS survey entitled,
``Survey of Research and Development Expenditures at Universities and
Colleges,'' issues with field of study data have been elucidated.
Recent site visits to sixteen academic institutions have indicated that
many academic institutions do not capture research field of study at
the proposal stage. Once a proposal has been funded, the ability to
capture the field of study for individual proposals varies considerably
across institutions from easy to quite difficult. Institutions have
indicated that it would require some effort to educate faculty on how
to code their research by field, as the methods are not
straightforward, especially as more and more research is
Lastly, SRS is also revising the existing taxonomy(s) of Fields of
Science in order to capture new and emerging fields. SRS is developing
a schema to revise the taxonomy in a manner that would allow it to be
updated on a continuous basis. We expect this project to be finalized
in two to three years. We will engage in significant consultation with
the other science funding agencies as part of this activity.
Lessons Learned from a Study of Grants by Gender
The NSF Authorization Act of 2002 required NSF to ``examine
differences in amounts requested and awarded, by gender, in major
federal external grants.'' SRS contracted with the RAND Corporation to
conduct the survey, and the results were published in a 2005 report
entitled, ``Gender Differences in Major Federal External Grant
The report covered several federal science agencies, or federal
agencies responsible for at least two percent of federal R&D
obligations to universities. We had intended that the study collect
data on grants by gender from NSF, the Department of Defense (DOD), the
Department of Energy (DOE), the Department of Agriculture (USDA), and
the National Institutes of Health (NIH). Data collection was only
feasible from NSF, NIH and USDA; adequate data on grant applications
and awards were not available from DOD or DOE. According to the report:
``[There are] numerous limitations in the information
collected in federal agencies' grant application and award data
systems. Such limitations hinder the ability to track gender
differences in federal grant funding. Better tracking of gender
differences in such funding would require that all agencies
awarding significant grant funding do the following:
Maintain a data system that stores information on all
grant applications and investigators, including co-
investigators. Ideally, each agency would have a single data
system rather than separate systems for each sub-agency or
grant program and the agencies would agree on a common list of
key data elements.
Include in the application form key personal
characteristics for each investigator, including gender, race
and ethnicity, institution (in a way that can be easily
categorized), type of academic appointment for investigators in
post-secondary education, discipline, degree, and year of
Fill in missing personal information, including
gender, where possible from other applications by the same
Record the amount requested and awarded for each
proposal and any score assigned to it by the peer reviewers.
Clearly identify initial proposals and awards,
supplements that involve new funding, and amendments that
involve no new funding.''
Cost of Survey Implementation
Current, simple federal surveys conducted by SRS cost approximately
$800,000 annually to implement. The costs are incurred by a survey firm
contracted to collect and process the data. This expense does not
include the cost of SRS staff, who provide oversight and administration
of the survey efforts, or the costs of collection and reporting
incurred by each of the individual federal agencies.
If NSF were tasked to expand its data collection efforts to include
the more complex project-specific and demographic data envisioned in
the proposed legislation, SRS would require additional funding, or we
would have to reduce other ongoing survey efforts. These costs do not
include the additional SRS staff time and resources that would be
required to facilitate the data surveys, nor the additional costs that
would be incurred by other federal agencies in setting up the requisite
data systems and annually reporting the data to SRS.
Mr. Chairman, I hope that I have been able to articulate NSF's
unique role in gathering and analyzing data about the Nation's S&E
enterprise. I hope my comments help feed the discussion about how to
collect indicators adequately to help our nation measure our progress
in ensuring that there is no gender bias in science and technology.
In summary, however, SRS does not have the ability to require
funding agencies to maintain such records. If Congress seeks to require
such a collection, the Grants Policy Committee, which is charged with
overseeing government-wide grants policy initiatives and making policy
recommendations to the Office of Management and Budget, might be able
to provide additional insight.
SRS does welcome the opportunity, however, to continue to be
involved in discussions on this important draft legislation, as we are
constantly striving to improve our contribution to the policy process.
NSF looks forward to collaborating with our sister agencies and the
broader S&E community to more effectively collect and report on
important data related to innovation and competitiveness. Thank you for
the opportunity to appear before you, and I am happy to answer any
Biography for Lynda T. Carlson
Since 2000, Dr. Lynda Carlson has been the Director of the National
Science Foundation's Division of Science Resources Statistics. In that
role, she is responsible for all activities of the Division, a federal
statistical agency within NSF. Prior to coming to NSF, Dr. Carlson was
at the Energy Information Administration (EIA) of the Department of
Energy where she held a variety of positions over 23 years. She is
internationally known for the design and development of the Nation's
energy consumption surveys, including the development of a unique
statistical sampling frame of commercial buildings. Dr. Carlson's last
position at EIA was that of Director of the Statistical Methods Group
with responsibility for all statistical activities throughout EIA.
Dr. Carlson received her M.A. and Ph.D. from the University of
Illinois at Urbana-Champaign in Political Science and her B.A. from
Brooklyn College, CUNY. She is a Fellow of the American Statistical
Association and member of various groups such as AAPOR and AAAS. She
has served on a series of OMB committees, is a member of the Federal
Committee on Statistical Methodology, and has served on several NAS
committees. In 2000, she received the highest departmental award from
the Department of Energy for her service to that agency.
Dr. Carlson has written on energy consumption, survey methodology,
and the science and engineering enterprise.
Chairman Baird. Thank you, Dr. Carlson. Dr. Blevins?
STATEMENT OF DR. LINDA G. BLEVINS, SENIOR TECHNICAL ADVISOR,
OFFICE OF THE DEPUTY DIRECTOR FOR SCIENCE PROGRAMS, U.S.
DEPARTMENT OF ENERGY
Dr. Blevins. Chairman Baird, Ranking Member Ehlers, and
Members of the Subcommittee, thank you for the opportunity to
testify today. I would like to provide you with some
information about two gender equity workshops.
In January of 2006, the academic chemistry community
pioneered a format for a gender equity workshop. The workshop
got its start because the chemistry community observed that 50
percent of their bachelor's degrees went to women, and 35
percent of their Ph.D.s went to women, but only 13 percent of
the faculty members in the top 50 university chemistry
departments were women. Top 50 refers to departments that
receive the most federal research dollars. The workshop thus
targeted the participation of the chairs from these
Around the time of the chemistry workshop, two National
Academies reports were released, Rising Above the Gathering
Storm and Beyond Bias and Barriers. These two reports
reinforced the DOE Office of Science's motivation to be
involved in gender equity workshops.
In May of 2007, the physics community hosted a workshop of
its own based on the chemistry model but adding some different
features. Each of these workshops, while organized by the
relevant research community, has involved the major funding
agencies for the given scientific field. For example, the
chemistry workshop was co-funded and advised by DOE, NSF, and
NIH. The physics workshop involved DOE and NSF.
I would like to highlight a few important points about the
workshops. First, the workshops are community-driven. The
steering committees are made of distinguished research
scientists within the discipline, and the workshops are
designed to create a sense of ownership of the outcomes within
each scientific community. Involvement of high-level federal
officials from the relevant funding program seems significant
in reinforcing the importance of the topical matter. The
workshop concept uses demographic data and social science to
examine the underlying causes of gender gaps in science. Data-
driven science is emphasized over anecdotes, and social science
is presented objectively. Planning such a workshop involves an
enormous amount of work.
Each community has a unique demographic and a unique
culture, which means each workshop may have different features.
For example, because women are under-represented at all levels
in physics, that workshop had a session on education issues
that did not appear in the chemistry workshop.
Each workshop brings an experienced and influential group
together to tackle tough issues. Attendance is limited to about
100 people, and participants include department chairs,
speakers that include social scientists, federal officials, and
For physics, managers from 13 DOE national laboratories
were invited along with the top 50 chairs. Workshops include
lectures, panel discussions, and break-out sessions.
Interactive theater and implicit bias demonstrations can shift
perspectives and encourage community action. Action items are
developed in the break-out sessions, and participants are asked
to select and commit to carrying them out. Tools such as
interactive websites allow the organizers from the communities
to track progress over time.
The metrics for success proposed and used so far by the
communities have been attitude changes as measured using
approved pre- and post-workshop surveys and tracking of the
documented commitment by the participants to implement action
items and their regular follow-up progress reports. For the
chemistry workshop, these metrics are already demonstrating
The workshops have not revealed differences between
federally funded research and development centers and
universities and their potential for implicit bias. There are
some other differences, though. First, FFRDCs do not always
have discreet disciplinary units like academic departments.
Second, while universities have tenure, FFRDCs have various
promotion systems, and these differences create challenges for
designing common workshops.
So development of this workshop series is being driven by
the scientific communities and has demonstrated some initial
success. The model for these workshops continues to evolve. The
agencies funding and advising these workshops have forged good
working relationship with each other and with the communities
working to achieve gender equity. And the innovative nature of
each workshop and of the workshop concept has drawn, and
continues to maintain, DOE's interest in participating.
Thank you again, Mr. Chairman, for the opportunity to speak
before you today, and I would be happy to answer questions.
[The prepared statement of Dr. Blevins follows:]
Prepared Statement of Linda G. Blevins
Chairman Baird, Ranking Member Ehlers, and Members of the
Subcommittee, thank you for the opportunity to testify today. I would
like to provide you with the history of the DOE Office of Science's
involvement in several gender equity workshops.
The 2005 demographics of academic chemistry departments as reported
by Chemical and Engineering News told a striking story that motivated
the design of a new workshop series. First, an impressive 50 percent of
chemistry Bachelor's degrees were awarded to women and 35 percent of
chemistry Ph.D. degrees went to women.\1\ Despite these strong training
numbers, only 13 percent of the faculty from the ``top 50'' university
chemistry departments in the U.S. were women.\2\ This disparity between
the fraction of women obtaining Ph.D. degrees and the fraction of women
serving as university faculty led the chemistry community to develop a
workshop concept that targeted the participation of the chairs of the
top 50 university chemistry departments. Workshop organizers engaged
the major federal funders of chemistry research--the Department of
Energy (DOE), the National Science Foundation (NSF), and the National
Institutes of Health (NIH)--for financial support and workshop
involvement. A steering committee, whose members were well-recognized
academic chemists respected for their research contributions, was
established. The workshop used demographic data and social science to
examine the underlying causes of the gender gap in university chemistry
\1\ C&E News Vol. 83 No. 44, pp. 38-39, 31 October 2005; also Vol.
84 No. 30, pp. 43-52, July 2006.
\2\ ``Top 50'' is defined by federal research expenditures. C&E
News Vol. 83 pp. 38-39, 31 October 2005.
Around the time of the chemistry workshop, the National Academies
report, ``Rising Above the Gathering Storm: Energizing and Employing
America for a Brighter Economic Future,'' focused broad public
attention on issues relating to the future of the physical sciences
workforce in the United States. Soon after, another Academies report,
``Beyond Bias and Barriers: Fulfilling the Potential of Women in
Academic Science and Engineering,'' helped raise awareness that
unintentional biases can limit women's participation in science. These
two reports reinforced the DOE Office of Science's motivation to
support gender equity workshops.
The chemistry workshop, ``Building Strong Academic Chemistry
Departments through Gender Equity,'' \3\ was held January 29-31, 2006,
and included lectures, panel discussions, and breakout sessions.
Academic leaders, social scientists, and funding agency senior managers
discussed demographic data and social science findings and used the
breakout sessions to apply their broad, collective experience to
identify action items for further work. A thought-provoking interactive
theater skit on the first night demonstrated potential for implicit
bias in academic mentoring, with actors staying in character to address
audience questions. The social science presentations argued that most
men and women exhibit unintended or implicit bias and that gender
schemas\4\--hidden assumptions about a person's behavior based on
gender--can slow women's advancement in academia and other career
paths. At the conclusion of the workshop, the chairs committed to carry
out at least two action items apiece from lists developed in the
workshop breakout sessions.
\4\ Valian, V. (1998). Why so slow? The advancement of women.
Cambridge, MA: M.I.T. Press.
A report describing the chemistry workshop and resultant action
items for university and college departments, institutions, and funding
agencies was released in 2006. Action items dealt with issues such as
educating others about implicit bias and developing policies that
facilitate hiring of women, including spousal hiring. Forty-five of the
56 chairs who attended the workshop visited an interactive website and
selected action items to implement. Results of pre- and post-workshop
attitudinal surveys administered by the Committee on the Advancement of
Women Chemists (COACh) \5\ showed measurable changes in the chairs'
views. The interactive website was developed by COACh to track progress
in the chairs' implementation of action items. At the end of the first
and second years after the workshop, COACh received progress updates
from chairs. Twenty-five chairs have followed up with COACh to report
progress this year. The high participation rate in selecting action
items and following up with progress reports has been encouraging.
The chemistry workshop resulted in shifts in attitude among the
university chemistry department chairs who participated. These shifts
were measured using an approved survey instrument developed by COACh
and the steering committee. Before the workshop, the chairs generally
felt that the principal factors limiting their ability to hire women
were beyond their administrative control-factors such as too few
applicants, candidate loss to other departments, and lack of spousal
employment opportunities. After the workshop, however, chairs were more
likely to report the limiting factors were those they could affect,
such as low faculty commitment to hiring women and lack of financing.
Additionally, chairs' perceptions of the factors slowing the progress
of women chemistry faculty changed. A paper reporting these results
will appear in the archival literature.\6\
\6\ ``Promoting Gender Equity in Academic Departments: A Study of
Department Heads in Top-Ranked Chemistry Departments,'' J. Greene, P.
Lewis, G.L. Richmond, and J. Stockard, Journal of Women and Minorities
in Science and Engineering, In Press (2008).
Inspired by the first workshop and follow-up within the chemistry
community, the physics community approached the major funders of
physics research--the DOE Office of Science and the NSF Mathematical
and Physical Sciences Directorate--about hosting a similar workshop in
their field. Workshop proposals were submitted and successfully
reviewed at both agencies. A respected physics workshop steering
committee was formed, and the time-intensive planning process began.
The American Physical Society's Committee on the Status of Women in
Physics\7\ (APS CSWP) spearheaded the planning effort with advice from
the funding agencies. The workshop, ``Strengthening the Physics
Enterprise in Universities and National Laboratories,'' \8\ was held
May 6-8, 2007.
It was clear from the beginning that physics demographics were very
different from those of chemistry: In 2005, only 21 percent of
Bachelor's degrees and 14 percent of Ph.D. degrees in physics were
awarded to women,\9\ while 2002 data showed that only about seven
percent of faculty members in the Nation's top 50 university physics
departments were women.\10\ Thus, in contrast to chemistry, women were
under-represented in the science of physics at every level. Most of the
physics workshop design was similar to that of the chemistry workshop,
but a session on undergraduate and graduate education was added to
address the demographic imbalance. Managers from DOE national
laboratories were involved because of the importance of physicists to
the missions of the national laboratories. Results from the pre- and
post-workshop surveys are currently being analyzed, and implementation
of action items is being tracked by the APS CSWP. A report from the
physics gender equity workshop is in the final stages of preparation.
\10\ ``A National Analysis of Diversity in Science and Engineering
Faculties at Research Universities,'' Dr. Donna J. Nelson, Norman, OK.
January, 2005. http://cheminfo.chem.ou.edu/?djn/diversity/briefings/
Inspired by the gender equity workshops, the chemistry community
organized a department chair workshop addressing racial and ethnic
equity, held September 24-26, 2007 with sponsorship from DOE, NSF, and
NIH. The materials sciences and engineering community is currently
planning a gender equity workshop of its own, with anticipated co-
funding from DOE and NSF, to be held May 18-20, 2008.
The remainder of my testimony will focus on the questions proposed
in the invitation letter for this hearing.
1. Based on your own experience in helping to organize workshops to
address gender bias in the chemistry and physics communities in 2006
and 2007, what are the elements of an effective workshop? In answering
this question, please address workshop content, format, speakers, and
participant categories, in addition to any other elements that are
important to an effective workshop.
To provide a little background, I personally attended the 2006
chemistry gender equity workshop and was a federal advisor to the
steering committees for the 2007 physics gender equity workshop and the
2007 chemistry racial and ethnic equity workshop. A few observations
can be made about the workshop series as a whole. Each workshop
requires months of hard preparation work by the relevant scientific
communities before the meeting occurs. A distinguished steering
committee, comprised of five to ten highly respected researchers,
encourages university department chairs to attend a given workshop and
participate fully. At least one steering committee member should be
expert in the social sciences addressing women in science to provide
insight and planning advice from that perspective. The workshops have
been structured by the communities and, as a result, the communities
accept a strong sense of ownership of the outcomes. Follow-up
activities that include reports of progress on action items are as
important as the workshop itself, as they maintain attention on the
Workshop attendance is by invitation and is typically limited to
about 100 people to facilitate information exchange. Participant travel
expenses are supported by federal agencies so that cost is not an
impediment to participation. The chairs are selected from departments
that produce the most Ph.D.s and/or receive the most federal research
dollars. Such chairs are typically role models and have the ability to
influence their own faculty as well as other department chairs.
Bringing such a peer group together encourages mutual cooperation
toward common goals. Steering committee members sometimes engage
funding agency officials in encouraging chairs to attend. When a chair
is unavailable, special effort is made to have him/her nominate an
influential colleague with demonstrated departmental leadership. Each
workshop audience includes a few opinion leaders, defined as either
distinguished disciplinary scientists with sway over their colleagues
or other scientists with unique expertise relevant to equity for under-
represented groups in science. These opinion leaders are carefully
chosen by the steering committee for their potential to stimulate
discourse throughout the workshop. The presence of high level federal
officials from the relevant disciplinary funding programs seems
important, as they reinforce the importance of gender equity among the
science community participants.
For workshop content, data-driven science is emphasized over
anecdotal evidence. Social science is presented objectively and
dispassionately. Breakout sessions have ranged from unstructured
discussions of generic questions to structured scenario analyses.
Inviting a science writer to help produce a workshop is also a good
idea. Creative touches such as interactive theater and implicit bias
demonstrations can shift perspectives and create group experiences that
encourage community action.
2. What metrics should be used to evaluate the success of such
workshops in changing individual behavior and institutional culture
related to gender equity in academic science and engineering?
The success metrics proposed and used by the communities have been
(1) attitudinal change as measured using pre- and post-workshop surveys
and (2) tracking of the documented commitment by participants to
implement action items and to provide follow-up via interactive
websites. Efforts have been made to keep the pre- and post-workshop
surveys similar so results for different community cultures and
workshop features can be compared. Involvement of COACh with survey
instruments has helped maintain continuity. Survey results are still
being analyzed from workshops held after the chemistry gender workshop.
The chemistry department chairs who reported back to COACh two years
after that workshop have described implementation of a number of new
policies to encourage gender equity, including reduced teaching load
after childbirth, stopping the tenure clock, mandatory mentoring plans
for junior faculty, more inclusive appointment procedures for
influential committees, changes in interview methods to better assure
fairness, and scheduling of faculty meetings during business hours.
Communities planning future workshops may consider developing other
metrics that could be evaluated by the funding agencies as part of
proposal merit review.
A recurring theme from these workshops and other stakeholder input
is the need to collect and track demographic data. Increased
percentages of women could indicate that positive changes are taking
place. Some science communities, like chemistry and physics, have ready
access to data from professional societies. Others, like the materials
sciences and engineering community, need to develop sources for such
3. Are there challenges in overcoming gender bias that are unique to
the National Laboratories? Should the workshops have sessions that are
tailored specifically to National Laboratory participants?
The workshops have not revealed differences in the potential for
implicit bias between Federally Funded Research and Development Centers
(FFRDCs) and universities. Social science research and understanding
suggest that implicit bias would exist in many technical environments,
which might include universities, national laboratories, and other
FFRDCs. Thus, approaches to identify and raise awareness of implicit
bias could be similar in any of them.
The physics gender equity workshop did, however, highlight some
organizational differences between FFRDCs and universities that create
workshop planning challenges. First, FFRDCs do not necessarily have
discrete disciplinary units as do academic departments. FFRDC managers
lead groups, divisions, directorates, branches, centers, etc., with
various disciplines represented among tens to hundreds of scientists.
The development of surveys that would apply to both university and
FFRDC structures as well as the selection of chair rank- and scope-
equivalent FFRDC managers have proven to be challenging in organizing
workshops and devising data collection tools. A single FFRDC manager
with full responsibility and authority to identify problems and
implement changes for a scientific discipline may not exist. Second,
universities typically have tenure systems, while FFRDCs can have
various promotion systems. Some FFRDCs have versions of tenure; some
operate more like corporations. No one model applies to all.
To date, workshop information has emphasized academic practice; it
must be adapted to be relevant to FFRDCs. Structuring some workshop
sessions specifically for FFRDCs is a good suggestion that may provide
more information more useful for them.
Despite their organizational differences, laboratories have been
influenced by findings from the gender equity workshops. For example,
Brookhaven National Laboratory undertook an activity inspired by the
two gender equity workshops. Brookhaven had sent a representative to
the 2006 chemistry workshop and another to the 2007 physics workshop.
These individuals returned to the laboratory with specific ideas about
steps that could be taken toward improving gender equity and, after
discussion, laboratory management decided to form a new team. The
Family Friendly Committee, a group of 15 laboratory employees from
various job levels, was commissioned by the laboratory director and met
nine times during its first year. The Family Friendly Committee, in
turn, formed subcommittees to consider such topics as alternate work
schedules, leave policies, and family services. The subcommittees
examined current practices at Brookhaven and developed some 15
suggestions for improvement. These recommendations are currently being
assembled into an internal report to laboratory management. The Family
Friendly Committee also hosted two distinguished gender equity experts
for day-long visits to the laboratory. Each of their seminars attracted
about 100 people.
The workshop series continues to be driven by the scientific
communities, which have been encouraged by the demonstrated success of
their initial efforts. Each science discipline has a unique culture and
demographic. These differences necessitate somewhat different features
for each workshop. The model for these workshops continues to evolve,
and communities wanting to organize such workshops for themselves
continue to propose innovative ideas for consideration by appropriate
funding agencies. The agencies funding and advising these workshops
have forged good working relationships with each other and with the
communities working to achieve gender equity. The innovative nature of
the workshop concept has drawn and maintains DOE's interest in
That concludes my testimony, Mr. Chairman. Thank you, again, for
the opportunity to speak before you today. I would be happy to answer
any questions the Committee may have.
Biography for Linda G. Blevins
Dr. Linda G. Blevins is a Senior Technical Advisor in the Office of
the Deputy Director for Science Programs in the Department of Energy's
(DOE) Office of Science. She joined the staff of the Deputy Director
for Science Programs in November 2007 to provide technical advice on
many aspects of science program management. From April 2006 through
November 2007 she served as Technical and International Advisor in the
DOE Office of Basic Energy Sciences. From July 2004 through March 2006,
she was the National Science Foundation (NSF) Program Director for
Combustion and Plasma Systems while on a leave of absence from the DOE
Combustion Research Facility at Sandia National Laboratories (SNL),
where she began working in 2000. From 1996-2000, Dr. Blevins was on the
research staff of the National Institute of Standards and Technology
(NIST) in the Building and Fire Research Laboratory. She received a
Ph.D. from Purdue University in 1996, a M.S. from Virginia Tech in
1992, and a B.S. summa cum laude from the University of Alabama in
1989. All of her degrees are in mechanical engineering.
Dr. Blevins has served on the Executive Board of the California
Biomass Collaborative, the Executive Committee of the Western States
Section of the Combustion Institute, the University of Alabama (UA)
College of Engineering Leadership Board, and the UA Mechanical
Engineering Advisory Board. She is a University of Alabama Department
of Mechanical Engineering Distinguished Fellow. Dr. Blevins is also a
member of the American Society for Engineering Education, the American
Society of Mechanical Engineers, the Combustion Institute, the American
Institute of Astronautics and Aeronautics, Pi Tau Sigma, Tau Beta Pi,
and the Women's Council on Energy and Environment. She was a
contributor to the book, Giving Much/Gaining More: Mentoring for
Success, written by Emily M. Wadsworth and published by Purdue
University Press in 2002. At Purdue, she was a NSF Fellow, a Clare
Boothe Luce Fellow, and a Link Foundation Energy Fellow.
Her areas of research expertise are soot formation, instrumentation
for probing high temperature gas/particle mixtures, gaseous pollutant
and particulate formation, and combustion of natural gas, coal, and
biomass. Her research at NIST and SNL was funded by the National
Aeronautics and Space Administration, the Strategic Environmental
Research and Development Program, the DOE, the Air Force Research
Laboratory, and the NIST Advanced Technology Program intramural
program. She is author or co-author of 22 archival journal articles and
more than 75 reports and conference papers.
Dr. Blevins currently serves on the Research Business Models
Subcommittee of the National Science and Technology Council's Committee
on Science. As part of her role in the Office of Science, she serves as
the program manager for cross-cutting efforts such as the National
Academies' America's Energy Future project. Dr. Blevins also advises
the Deputy Director for Science Programs on Office of Science policies
related to the management of science programs and research portfolio
integration across the program offices within the Office of Science and
DOE and with other federal agencies.
Chairman Baird. You folks are amazing. We had four seconds
left on your time clock. This is unprecedented. Let us see if
Dr. Ginther can hit the mark as well. Dr. Ginther, thank you
STATEMENT OF DR. DONNA K. GINTHER, ASSOCIATE PROFESSOR,
DEPARTMENT OF ECONOMICS; DIRECTOR, CENTER FOR ECONOMIC AND
BUSINESS ANALYSIS, UNIVERSITY OF KANSAS
Dr. Ginther. Chairman Baird, Ranking Member Ehlers and
distinguished Members of the Subcommittee, thank you for the
opportunity to testify today on the pending legislation. I am
an economist specializing in research on academic labor
markets. My NSF-funded research examines the question, does
science discriminate against women?
My research shows that women who have children are less
likely to enter academic science careers. Thus, the single most
important step that Congress can take to help women is to allow
universities to count childcare facilities toward indirect
costs in order to expand the availability of childcare for
I have been asked to comment on data availability related
to gender disparities and specific proposals of the Act. I
comment on these now.
In terms of data, I used the NSF's survey of doctorate
recipients in my research. This is an excellent data source.
However, with all data, there are some limitations. I find that
there are no gender gaps in the promotion of scientists who
tenure or full professor. I find, however, gender gaps in the
promotion of social scientists, specially in my own discipline
of economics, and I find gender gaps in salary at the full
However, I cannot attribute all of these gender gaps to
bias because there are key factors missing in the data that
might explain the gender gap. The first is productivity. There
is no availability of annual publications, citations, and
annual patents. Second will be dual career concerns. We don't
have information on spouses' education, employment, and
earnings. Finally, it would be useful to have information on
caregiving, time women spend in childcare and house time work.
Now, I turn to specific aspects of the proposal. In terms
of the workshops on gender bias, the goal is that information
about implicit bias will lead to changes in behavior. First,
when implementing these workshops, a valid research design is
essential. Treatment and control groups should evaluate the
same proposal, and then any difference in evaluation can be
judged as a result of these workshops on bias. We need to
evaluate the workshops based on outcomes.
Second, it is important to provide training for the
principal investigators who supervise post-docs because this is
where the system seems to break down for women.
Third, I recommend that we expand these workshops to
include mentoring activities for both post-docs and junior
faculty. Mentoring for junior faculty complements mentoring for
evaluators and treats both sides of the problem.
Second, the Act calls for extending grant support for
caregiving. Both the NSF and NIH provide for no-cost extensions
of grant monies, and these practices should be implemented
across federal funding agencies.
Finally, I have been asked to comment on the federal role
in gender equity. First and foremost, the Federal Government
should provide grant support to caregivers through direct and
indirect costs. We should count daycare facilities toward
indirect costs, therefore subsidizing access to daycare on
campus, and federal guidelines should be modified to allow
charging grants for childcare during conferences and for travel
for small children to conferences.
Second, we need to provide financial support for improved
data collection and research analysis in order to understand
the gender disparities and point to solutions to these
Third, we need to evaluate gender intervention programs
based on outcomes and disseminate best practices. ADVANCE can
provide a model for other federal agencies.
Mr. Chairman, once again, I thank you for the opportunity
to testify today. The under-representation of women in academic
science results from more than implicit or explicit bias.
Although bias may play a role, my research suggests that the
difficulties women face in balancing work and family in the
post-doctoral years cause too many women to leave science.
Immediate childcare support on campus for graduate students,
post-doctoral students and faculty, better data, and greater
access to that data and rigorous evaluations of interventions
will allow for a more complete picture of the problem and point
to necessary solutions. I will be happy to answer any questions
about my testimony.
[The prepared statement of Dr. Ginther follows:]
Prepared Statement of Donna K. Ginther
Chairman Baird, Ranking Member Ehlers and distinguished Members of
the Subcommittee, thank you for the invitation to testify today. It is
an honor for me to comment on specific provisions in the legislation
pending before the Subcommittee.
My research, professional, and university service has centered on
understanding the issues related to the advancement of women in science
and social science careers and engaging in institutional transformation
efforts to affect change for women academics. I have published eight
articles and written six additional working papers on the topic of
gender differences in employment outcomes in academia.\1\ In 2003 I
received a National Science Foundation grant to investigate ``Gender
Differences in Employment Outcomes for Academics in Science and Social
Science'' SES-0353703, which has provided financial support for this
research agenda. In addition, I have served as a co-Principle
Investigator for two NSF ADVANCE Institutional Transformation grant
proposals submitted by the University of Kansas. I serve on the Board
of Directors of the Committee of the Status of Women in the Economics
Profession of the American Economics Association where my main duty is
to run national mentoring workshops for junior faculty. Finally, I am
currently the Chair of the Faculty Compensation Committee at the
University of Kansas where I have worked to create and implement tenure
stop-clock and modified instructional duties policies for faculty
engaged in family caregiving responsibilities. In these many
capacities, I feel qualified to comment on Fulfilling the Potential of
Women in Academic Science and Engineering Act of 2008.
\1\ These publications and working papers are listed in the
My research shows that women who have children are less likely to
enter academic science careers. The single most important step Congress
can take to fulfill the potential of women in academic science is to
allow universities the opportunity to count child care facilities
toward indirect costs in order to expand availability of childcare for
Summary of Research Results
Many studies, most recently the National Academies Report, Beyond
Bias and Barriers, have documented gender differences in hiring,
salary, and promotion. However, interpreting the causes of gender
disparities in employment outcomes requires an in-depth examination of
Economic theory provides the underpinnings of my research on these
issues. Economists start by assuming that employment outcomes are
determined by market forces. Wages and hiring are determined by the
supply of and demand for Ph.D. scientists. Equally productive workers,
regardless of gender, will be paid the same and hired in similar
numbers given market forces. Given these assumptions, one should not
observe hiring, promotion, and salary differences by gender. However,
persistent gender wage and employment differentials persist on average
in the market as a whole (Altonji and Blank, 1999) and for scientists
in particular (Ginther, 2001 2006).
Beginning with Becker's seminal work on discrimination (Becker,
1971), economists have developed models to understand gender and racial
disparities in employment outcomes. Becker argues that taste-based
discrimination (prejudice) will be eliminated by competitive forces. As
a result, bias and prejudice are ruled out as explanations of the
gender gap unless all other possible explanations posited by economic
theory have been disproved. One alternative to discrimination,
individual ``preferences'' or choices, are most-often used to examine
the gender gap. Preference-based explanations argue that gender
differences in employment outcomes result from choices, in particular
differences in productivity. Since theory holds that equally productive
workers are paid or promoted the same, it follows that gender
differences in employment outcomes are the result of differences in
productivity. A second preference-based explanation is that women
choose to marry and have children, which in turn affects their
attachment to their careers and overall productivity.
If the researcher cannot explain the gender differences in
employment outcomes using one of the above explanations, then the
residual gender difference in hiring, promotion, or salary may be
attributed to discrimination. However, economists continue to search
for rational explanations--ones that will not be eliminated by
competitive forces. Statistical discrimination suggests that imperfect
information on the part of employers generates wage differentials. In
this model, an employer attributes the average characteristics of a
group to an individual member of this group--essentially, the employer
uses a stereotype in making hiring decisions or setting wages. As a
result, we observe gender differences in employment outcomes. However,
direct measures of statistical discrimination are difficult to come by.
Thus, discrimination may be inferred when other plausible explanations
have been ruled out.
Given these principles, my research poses the question: Does
Science Discriminate Against Women? I have evaluated gender differences
in hiring, promotion, and salary. I find that gender differences in
hiring are largely explained by the presence of children--mothers are
less likely to obtain tenure-track jobs in science and social science
(Ginther and Kahn forthcoming, 2006). Once women are on the tenure
track, we find no significant gender differences in promotion to tenure
or full professor in the sciences (Ginther and Kahn forthcoming).
However, women are much less likely to get tenure or be promoted to
full professor in the social sciences, especially in economics (Ginther
and Kahn 2004, 2006). Finally, I find that female full professors in
the sciences earn significantly less than men and the gap is not fully
explained by observable characteristics (Ginther 2001, 2003, 2004,
Although I document substantial gender gaps in promotion and
salaries, I cannot rule out the fact that productivity differences
explain the salary gap in science and the promotion gap in social
science. Also, the results in Ginther and Kahn (forthcoming) suggest
that factors related to marriage and children during the postdoctoral
period reduce the number of women in tenure track academic science.
Until we have better data, as an economist, I am not in a position to
conclude that bias is the sole determinant of the gender gap in
\2\ Better data does make an important difference. In Ginther and
Kahn (2004) we collect publication data and find that the gender gap in
promotion in economics cannot be explained by productivity differences.
These results indicate that bias likely explains the gender promotion
gap in economics.
Data Needed to Understand Gender Disparities
My research on gender differences in employment outcomes has used
the Survey of Doctorate Recipients collected by the NSF. The SDR is the
best data available for studying career outcomes of science doctorates.
Like all data, the SDR is not without limitations. Namely, the SDR
lacks information on academic productivity, publications and citations
that would allow researchers to determine whether productivity instead
of bias is the underlying cause of the gender gap in salary and
Although the SDR has collected information on publications and
patents, the data are not available in every year of the survey and
therefore cannot help us understand the point in a person's career
where things turn around. Further, the SDR does not contain information
on the quality of publications measured by citations. First and
foremost, we need information on academic productivity measured by
publications, citations, and journal impact in order to discern whether
productivity differences explain the gender gap. Second, information on
the size and duration of federal grants would provide another
indication of scientific productivity. One could then examine the
correlation between grant funding, publications, and citations to
create a measure of the return on the federal investment in science.
Finally, patent applications and patents granted from the U.S. Patent
and Trademark Office could be included in the data set.
In 2003, I submitted ``Gender Differences in Employment Outcomes
for Academics in Science and Social Science'' SES-0353703 to the NSF.
This grant proposed to merge publication data from Thomson-ISI's Web of
Science onto the SDR. I submitted this grant because reviews of the
previous proposal indicated that SDR data without productivity measures
was insufficient to answer the research question that I had posed. My
grant was funded in 2004, and the creation of the SDR Productivity
Database has been a work in progress ever since.
Essentially, a proposal to merge SDR data with other data sources
puts legitimate research of importance to Congress at odds with the
Confidential Information Protection and Statistical Efficiency Act of
2002. It took until 2006 for NSF to establish a policy permit matching
SDR data with other sources. Since 2006, I have drafted several
revisions of the data matching proposal as NSF gathered the necessary
data to make the match a reality. In the interim, the NSF funded a
research conference, ``Collaborative Research: Workshop on linking NSF
SED/SDR Data to Scientific Productivity'' SRS-0725475 which brought
together researchers interested in using the SDR Productivity data,
statistical experts on linking data sets, and staff from the NSF
Division of Science Resource Statistics to discuss the issues involved
in creating the data with the least amount of matching error, ensuring
its confidentiality, and providing access to the research community.\3\
\3\ Information from this conference is available at http://
The creation of the SDR Productivity Database is still a work in
progress. Since my original proposal, I have expanded the scope to
including matching the SDR with U.S. Patent and Trademark Office patent
data as well. I am exploring the possibility of merging information
from the NIH trainee database as well as their grants database onto the
SDR in order to examine the effect of early NIH fellowship awards on
later career outcomes. Once the data are created, I plan to use it to
evaluate the gender gap in salary and promotion in academic science in
order to draw more definitive conclusions about the explanations for
Additional data beyond productivity would provide greater insight
into the under-representation of women in science. To understand the
effect of marriage and children during the post-doctoral period on the
gender gap in obtaining a tenure track job, new questions would need to
be added to the SDR survey instrument. These would include:
Number, length, and institutional affiliation of
Spouse information including education, employment
Childcare and housework time This series of questions
would allow researchers to determine whether the post-doctoral
process, work-family tradeoffs, or a combination of both lead
to fewer women in academic science.
In addition to the SDR, I recommend that federal agencies such as
the NSF and NIH work with professional societies to collect information
on the demand for scientists. In particular, researchers could make use
of data on the number of academic and non-academic jobs available in
scientific fields.\4\ Information on the demand for scientists measured
by the number of job openings could then be compared with the number of
doctorates granted in the Survey of Earned Doctorates. This comparison
would allow researchers and policy-makers to identify the effect of
supply and demand on the market for scientists.
\4\ For example, the American Economic Association publishes Job
Openings for Economists which contains a monthly list of all jobs for
economics doctorates. This information could be compiled annually to
get a count of jobs available as a measure of demand for economists.
Workshops on Gender Bias
The proposed legislation mandates holding national workshops to
educate grant review panels and department chairs about methods that
minimize the impact of gender bias in evaluation. These workshops are
likely modeled after an initiative in academic chemistry departments
goal of these workshops is to inform individuals about gender bias and
its impact with the hope being that rational scientists who are
presented with research that contradicts their prior beliefs will
change both their attitudes and behavior. These changes will then
translate into better outcomes for women in academic science. I
strongly support the goal of this initiative.
However, I have a few comments and concerns about this proposal.
First, the effectiveness of the proposed workshops needs to be judged
by its impact on evaluation outcomes. All too often, people assess
attitudes before and after a workshop and if the attitudes have
changed, the workshop is judged a success. Attitude change is often
fleeting, and success should be measured not simply by reference to
internal states but by reference to external outcome variables.
To evaluate the effectiveness of the gender bias workshops, a valid
research design is critical. First, I suggest having a treatment and
control group evaluate the same request for funds in a funding panel
setting. The funding agency could use previously evaluated proposals
from prior years as the control group and then have a ``treatment''
review panel that participated in a gender workshop evaluate the
proposals a second time. Any differences in evaluation between the
treatment and control group scores can then be attributed to the gender
bias workshop--the `treatment.' Second, the review panel should focus
on funding for individuals such as postdoctoral fellowships. This would
reduce any bias related to the quality of the research proposal and
would mimic evaluations of individuals that occur throughout scientific
careers (e.g., for promotion and tenure). Researchers should then
compare the evaluation scores of the same proposal by the treatment and
control groups. If there are statistically significant differences in
evaluations, this would be evidence that bias has a causal effect on
funding outcomes. Once this fact has been established, it would make
sense to implement these workshops as broadly as possible.
A second concern has to do with the problem of motivation among
workshop participants. Changing beliefs is difficult, and workshops
like this will be successful if the people who attend are motivated by
the purpose and methods. I posit that this will not be a problem for
grant review panelists, who are working on behalf of the funding
agencies. However, I remain skeptical about the workshops'
effectiveness among department chairs. While this may vary depending on
the discipline, in Economics (where faculty typically believe in
efficient labor markets), department chairs are likely to be a hostile
audience. I think these workshops have to be structured and
participants motivated very carefully to impact these decision-makers.
Third, my research shows that women leave academic science during
the postdoctoral period. Gender workshops focused on grant review
panelists and department chairs would seem to miss the most critical
group that could affect change for women in academic science--the post-
doctoral supervisors. Thus, it makes sense that principle-investigators
who are supervising post-doctoral students would be an important target
audience for these workshops.
Finally, I recommend that the Subcommittee consider expanding the
scope of the workshops to include mentoring activities for post-
doctoral students and junior faculty in the science disciplines. COACh
in chemistry and CeMENT in economics provide excellent examples of
existing initiatives. I am currently serving as the Coordinator of the
CeMENT National mentoring workshops for the Committee on the Status of
Women in the Economics Profession. These workshops are funded by the
NSF and the American Economic Association and are designed to help
junior economists overcome the tenure hurdle, with a special focus on
addressing the unique challenges that women face at the beginning of
their careers. The workshops are aimed at junior faculty in
institutions where tenure is primarily based on research output. At the
workshops, participants are arranged into small groups based on their
research areas and matched with senior mentors. The format and
curriculum are designed to create and cement relationships among the
participants, as well as between the participants and the mentors.
Large group sessions address the publication process, grant writing,
teaching, professional activities, the tenure process, and work-life
balance. Small group sessions consisting of researchers in the same
field provided feedback on junior scholar research papers and grant
As with most mentoring workshops, the participants are pleased with
the information provided to them. However, the evaluation of the
program does not end with participant surveys.
CeMENT is now in its third wave of six randomized trials designed
to evaluate the effect of mentoring on career outcomes. Each workshop
has had over 80 applicants of which approximately half are randomly
invited to the workshop. The CeMENT research team follows the CeMENT
treatment and control groups for several years to evaluate whether or
not mentoring has an impact on publications, grants, and ultimately,
the tenure decision. CeMENT is the only experimental evaluation of
mentoring that we are aware of. We hope to have preliminary results to
report in the coming year.
The mentoring workshops can complement the proposed workshops for
review panels, postdoctoral supervisors, and department chairs. By
providing information and education to both sides of the process, we
can have a larger impact and expect to see more change than addressing
either side independently.
Extending Grant Support for Caregiving
Both the NSF and NIH provide for no-cost extensions of grant
monies. The NIH website indicates that grants can be extended because
of caregiving responsibilities (http://grants.nih.gov/training/
faq-childcare.htm). These practices can and should be
implemented across federal funding agencies.
Federal Role in Gender Equity
Throughout this testimony I have argued for the need for better
data to evaluate gender disparities, more effective evaluation of
gender bias workshops, and the addition of mentoring workshops. I will
now make specific recommendations that will allow the Federal
Government to directly address barriers to gender equity in academic
1. Provide grant support to caregivers through direct and indirect
costs. Availability of daycare on campus is in short-supply. No faculty
member can be productive if they are preoccupied with the care of their
children while they are at work. The Federal Government should allow
universities to count facilities for daycare provided on campus towards
indirect costs, in particular, the number of spaces available for
infant care.\5\ This would provide a subsidy for the expansion of
daycare centers on campus which would free up the time of caregivers.
In addition, I want to echo Myron Campbell's testimony before the
Committee in recommending that Federal OMB guidelines\6\ be modified to
allow faculty members to charge grants for the cost of childcare during
a conference, or the cost of having small children travel to
conferences be charged against direct or indirect grant costs (http://
\5\ According the NIH website http://grants.nih.gov/training/
faq-childcare.htm, no NIH grantee covers childcare as an
2. Provide financial support for improved data collection and
research analysis to better understand gender disparities in academic
science. The SDR Productivity Database described previously is very
much a work in progress. Additional funding could expand the scope of
the database and improve its quality. In particular, information on
publications, citations, and patents should be updated with each new
wave of the SDR. Both the NSF and President Bush's science advisor,
John Marburger, cite the need to devise new measures of the status of
science and technology (S&T) in the economy, as it is widely believed
that current formulations insufficiently represent current S&T
practices. Linking existing data sets together provides several
advantages in producing new information on S&T because of the time it
takes to implement changes to existing national surveys. I justify
matching existing data along a number of dimensions. First, innovation
in the U.S. changes more rapidly than the data are collected.
Researchers and the NSF can save time by matching existing data sets to
measure and understand changes in innovation. Second, matched data are
complementary to and enhance existing national surveys. The findings
from research using the matched data can help in reformulating national
surveys and suggest modules that could explore more fully phenomena
discovered in the matched data. Third, matched data provide increased
flexibility for research. Researchers will not need to wait up to ten
years to gain access to revised national surveys. Finally, matched data
will allow researchers and policy-makers to examine questions that have
not been adequately addressed because of data limitations.
In addition to matched data, questions should be added to the SDR
that directly address the post-doctoral experience, education and
employment of the spouse, and time allocated to caregiving duties.
Once these data are created, steps must be taken to maintain the
confidentiality of the data while providing broad access to the
research community. I recommend two approaches to confidentiality.
First, synthetic data could be site-licensed to individuals in research
community to allow preliminary estimates to be performed. Second, the
NSF should explore technological solutions for maintaining the
confidentiality of the SDR Productivity Database such as a virtual
private network with encrypted access. Final estimates could be
performed on the secured data.
3. Evaluate gender intervention programs and disseminate best
practices. Since its inception in 2001, the NSF ADVANCE program has
funded 32 institutional transformation grants as well as several
leadership grants such as the CeMENT workshops. Each institution has
devised interventions to improve the climate, hiring, retention, and
compensation of women in science. This year, the NSF has begun an
evaluation to document the effectiveness of institutional
transformation programs. It is my hope that the evaluation results in a
series of best-practices that can be used as a model for other federal
Mr. Chairman, once again I thank you for this opportunity to
testify today. The under-representation of women in academic science
results from more than implicit or explicit bias. Although bias may
play a role, my research suggests that the difficulties women face in
balancing work and family and in the post-doctoral years cause too many
women to leave science. Immediate childcare support on campus for
graduate students, post-doctoral students, and faculty, better data and
greater access to the data, and rigorous evaluation of interventions
will allow for a more-complete picture of the problem and point to the
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Promotion in the Humanities.'' American Economic Review Papers
and Proceedings 89(2): 397-402.
DK Ginther and KJ Hayes (2003). ``Gender Differences in Salary and
Promotion for Faculty in the Humanities, 1977-1995.'' The
Journal of Human Resources 38(1): 34-73.
DK Ginther and S Kahn (2004). ``Women in Economics: Moving Up or
Falling Off the Academic Career Ladder?'' Journal of Economic
Perspectives (Summer 2004) 18(3): 193-214.
DK Ginther and S Kahn (2006). ``Women's Careers in Academic Social
Science: Progress, Pitfalls, and Plateaus.'' Mimeo, University
DK Ginther and S Kahn (forthcoming 2009). ``Does Science Promote Women?
Evidence From Academia, 1973-2001'' in Science and Engineering
Careers in the United States. Richard B. Freeman and Daniel F.
Goroff (eds.), Chicago, IL: University of Chicago Press for
NBER Science Engineering Workforce Project.
S Kahn and DK Ginther (2007). ``Good Moves: Gender Differences in
Academic Mobility in the Sciences and Social Sciences.'' Mimeo,
Biography for Donna K. Ginther
Donna Ginther is an Associate Professor of Economics and the
Director of the Center for Economic and Business Analysis at the
Institute for Policy Research at the University of Kansas. Prior to
joining the University of Kansas faculty, she was a research economist
and associate policy adviser in the regional group of the Research
Department of the Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta from 2000 to 2002,
and taught at Washington University from 1997 to 2000 and Southern
Methodist University from 1995 to 1997. Her major fields of study are
scientific labor markets, gender differences in employment outcomes,
wage inequality, scientific entrepreneurship, and children's
Dr. Ginther has been published in several journals, including the
Journal of the American Statistical Association, Journal of Economic
Perspectives, Demography, and the Papers and Proceedings of the
American Economic Association. She has also received research funding
from the National Science Foundation, the National Institutes of
Health, and the Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation. She is currently a
member of the Board of the Committee on the Status of Women in the
Economics Profession of the American Economic Association in charge of
organizing the CeMENT national mentoring workshops.
A native of Wisconsin, Dr. Ginther received her doctorate in
economics in 1995, Master's degree in economics in 1991, and Bachelor
of arts in economics in 1987, all from the University of Wisconsin-
Chairman Baird. I thank the witnesses for a very
informative and concise and relevant testimony. I will
recognize myself for five minutes and follow that with Dr.
Ehlers. We have been joined by the way by Dr. Bartlett. Thank
you Dr. Bartlett.
Dr. Carlson, one of the questions I have, as you describe
the situation, it sounds like you are gathering a fair bit of
data, but it is incomplete and variable across the agencies
that are submitting the data. You also describe that you have
got a--you are in some consultative process to try to perhaps
improve that set. If that consultative process is successful,
could you gather the sort of data that is requested in this
legislation, and would it be of use to you to do so?
Dr. Carlson. Data on gender and ethnicity and race is--an
individual cannot be forced to provide that as part of the
Privacy Act. So there is no way that one can compel that. It is
actually an issue of working with the individual agencies to
have them request the data needed, and there is no way that we
can actually push the agencies to do that. I think that really
the best way is to work through the Chief Financial Officer's
counsel, and that might be a way to handle that.
Chairman Baird. Dr. Blevins, these workshops you described,
I was very pleased to hear that you focus on data, research-
based information about what are the obstacles for women
continuing the science career path. We had a prior hearing
where, among others, Dr. Shalala spoke, and one of the things
that came up was the point you have all made, essentially that
really just the number of baccalaureate level folks is pretty
good for women. There is this drop down the road a ways. What
specifically about your workshops addresses that would be one
point, and the second would be if, as this legislation
recommends, we would require there be these training workshops,
how would we make sure that the caliber of the workshop is
good? I have had the opportunity in my own academic career to
participate in both gender and ethnic sensitivity type
workshops, and the caliber quite frankly varied a great deal.
What are your thoughts on that?
Dr. Blevins. Okay. So the first question, what specific
about the workshop addresses this fall off----
Chairman Baird. Yeah, the data----
Dr. Blevins.--in the statistics?
Chairman Baird. Specifically the research data that tells
us what causes the fall off. Dr. Ginther pointed a few points
Dr. Blevins. Right. I think the workshops focus on all
sorts of things. One is the idea of implicit bias and gender
schemas, and the other is just sort of policies and practices
of the universities and the institutions that might not make
them very good places to work. For example, a graduate student
might not find a faculty career very attractive. That has come
up several times because of the types of policies and
practices. One example of that is just a simple one which was
surprising to me, is when do you hold your faculty meetings? I
mean, some folks hold them on Saturdays or, you know, at 5:00
in the evening. And so that is kind of a simple one that can
sort of make the environment better for men and women actually.
All of these things are really geared toward that.
Chairman Baird. As a father of two twins, I appreciate
that, three-year-old boys.
Dr. Blevins. And so it is really a rich format with a very
experienced group of department chairs, federal officials, and
scientists of all types. They come together and bring a lot of
expertise into these break-out sessions. And for example, at
the physics workshop, one of the universities talked about how
it was implementing a part-time tenure track. So there are a
lot of interesting and different ideas that come out of them.
How do we keep the caliber of the workshops high or how do
communities keep the caliber? I think the key concept here is
to make them data-driven and to really focus on data so that
people don't walk out of the room kind of thinking, well that
is somebody else's problem and not mine. I think if you really
focus on the data from the social science and whatnot, these
people who attend really take ownership I think in this issue.
And so, we talk a lot about how to make them different from
what has been held in the past, and I think it is more than
just everyone getting around, telling their stories about how
bad it is for them. We try to avoid that, and we really try to
keep it data-focused.
Chairman Baird. Sounds like you achieved that, and I am
sure Dr. Ginther, her data set would be--Doctor, your data set
seems quite relevant to that. One quick question, and then I
will recognize Dr. Ehlers. Has anyone estimated the cost--I
support the idea of considering providing indirect costs for
childcare. Have we got an estimate of the cost of that?
Dr. Ginther. I checked with the NIH and they say it is
permissible to use childcare facilities toward indirect costs,
though no grantees do so. So I don't know how it would--you
know, I don't know the specifics of how it would be
implemented. It is possible, and I don't know why other
institutions aren't doing it.
Chairman Baird. Dr. Ehlers is recognized.
Mr. Ehlers. Thank you, Mr. Chairman. Dr. Ginther, you
recommend the establishment of a valid research design to
measure the effectiveness of the workshops proposed by this
legislation. Can you suggest how that might be incorporated
into the legislation and would you recommend that these
workshops start out on a pilot basis with a good evaluation
Dr. Ginther. I think that whenever you are evaluating an
intervention, you need to have a treatment and control group.
So if you are targeting, say, grant reviewers, you would have a
treatment group that goes through the gender bias workshop. And
then you would have a control group that doesn't, and then they
would look at the same proposal and then you look at the
evaluations coming out of the treatment and control group,
compare the two, and see whether or not bias played a role in
the evaluations, whether or not there were average differences.
Women are evaluated better by the people who have the gender
bias training. That would prove scientifically that these
workshops have a significant effect.
We are doing a similar approach with our mentoring
workshops in the American Economic Association. We have held
three so far, and we have about 80 participants who are
randomly assigned to a treatment and control group, and then we
look at these young scholars as their careers evolve and we see
whether or not the mentoring workshops actually have a
significant effect. And then once we have shown that or failed
to show that, then we can sort of say, these policies are
important and should be disseminated widely across the
disciplines. But I agree with Dr. Blevins' point, that each
discipline has a specific set of issues and these need to be
discipline-specific in order to be effective.
Mr. Ehlers. Another question. If work/family trade-offs are
at least a significant factor, maybe an extremely significant
factor, but the question is, does your research indicate that
these trade-off decisions are more acute in science and
engineering than in other disciplines?
Dr. Ginther. I have not evaluated the humanities, but I
have evaluated science and social science and I find that women
tend to leave the doctorate and getting on the tenure track in
both disciplines. What I have also found is that each
discipline is different. So in engineering, for example, you
see women entering tenure-track jobs at higher rates than men,
but they are more likely to drop out of the tenure track if
they have a child. So these work/family trade-offs really seem
to affect every woman in academia. But I think they are more
likely to affect women in that period of purgatory known as the
post-doc. You know, you don't have faculty status, you don't
have student status, and it is not clear whether or not there
is a job going to come out at the other end; and therefore, you
know, judging by what is happening in the data, I can't prove
this definitively but judging by what happens, they decide to
Mr. Ehlers. Does this happen in the post-doc level?
Dr. Ginther. Yeah.
Mr. Ehlers.--it is more or less permanent, right?
Dr. Ginther. Yeah, I mean it is an irrevocable decision.
Mr. Ehlers. But if they are on tenure track, they may drop
out for a few years.
Dr. Ginther. Now, on the tenure track, I find no
significant differences in the science of women making it
through. So women and men are promoted to tenure and to full
professor at equal rates once they get to the tenure track in
science. Not true in social science.
Mr. Ehlers. I see. That is interesting. So in other words,
we scientists are more fair-minded----
Dr. Ginther. I would state it a little differently. You
scientists pre-screen your tenure track applicants. There is a
screening mechanism called post-doc, and social scientists
don't have post-docs on average. And so then you see the
screening happening on the tenure track.
Mr. Ehlers. Okay. Sorry. I thought I had discovered
something new. Dr. Blevins----
Chairman Baird. I think you were engaging in confirmation
Mr. Ehlers. But I hide my biases very well. I do have lots
of them. Dr. Blevins, do you have any indication that the
attitude perception shifts resulting from the workshops
resulted or led to institutional change? Do you follow-up on
Dr. Blevins. In fact, follow-up is being done for the
chemistry workshop. I have a Committee on the Advancement of
Women Chemists, and they have an interactive website and they
have collected input. And in fact, there have been some
anecdotal pieces entered into the website about some of the
changes, and I have written about some of those in my
testimony. Let me see if I can--I remember that there were
things about changing the way they interviewed candidates and
creating more concrete criteria by which everyone would
evaluate the candidates in writing, working on this childcare
issue, changing their faculty meeting times and things like
that. In fact, I think nearly half of the chairs that attended
have gone in and entered updates to the website two years
later, which is I think a very high success rate.
Mr. Ehlers. All right. I think my time has expired. I am
afraid we have to go vote.
Chairman Baird. Yeah, we are down to five minutes voting,
and without boring you with the details of what lies ahead for
us, what lies ahead for you is about a 45-minute wait. And we
regret that, but we will likely--I don't foresee us likely
coming back before 11:15. So let us just give everybody that as
a predictable time. It is possible we run over a few minutes,
but Dr. Bartlett, a couple minutes. The challenge is I don't
know how tight they are holding the votes right now.
Mr. Bartlett. Thank you very much. I have a markup in a
subcommittee so I cannot come back after the vote. We only have
a couple of minutes before we need to run for votes. Anything
that we can do to encourage more of our young people,
particularly women, who have largely been under represented in
these areas to go into science, math, and engineering is
enormously important. I just read a statistic yesterday that
really alarmed me. Sixty percent of all of the patents that
come to our patent office come from inventors outside the
United States. This year China will graduate six times as many
engineers as we graduate and more than 50 percent of all of the
students in our sciences for post-college education are foreign
students. So we face enormous challenges, and we just pretty
much ignored a full 50 percent of our potential by not
encouraging women to go into these disciplines.
I am very much concerned about any discrimination, but I am
even more concerned about a culture which does not appreciate
people in these areas. I just think we need to change the
culture so that these careers are valued. Culture gets what it
appreciates, and we just don't appreciate these careers. We
appreciate singers and dancers and football players, and so if
it was just who gets invited to the White House where they
slobber all over them rather than academic figures, they are
sports and entertainers and so forth. Don't you think we really
need a culture change in this country? And you are very
effective representatives, three very attractive women, bright,
and you know, you just need to be out and about more so that
people can see, gee, there really is an opportunity for women
in these disciplines, isn't there? Thank you very much for your
testimony. I am sorry we don't have more time for conversation.
Thank you very much.
Chairman Baird. Thank you, Dr. Bartlett. Thank you. Please
indulge with your patience. I apologize for the interruption.
It is beyond our control. But we will rush off and vote and
come back as quickly as we can. But I think it is very
improbable we would be back before 11:15. So let us make it
11:10 if you would. Let us try to come back at 11:10 just in
case we get lucky early, and then we will reconvene. Thank you
Chairman Baird. The meeting will now come to order again.
We apologize profoundly to our witnesses. It has not been our
finest hour over on the Floor. A series of procedural votes
make it very unpredictable. Dr. Ehlers and I have agreed
mutually that we have respect for the witnesses who have
traveled so far and made such effort to give us good testimony.
We are going to miss a couple of votes in order that we can be
here and hear from you.
So with that, Dr. Ehlers, I will recognize you because I
know you have some further questions, and then I will resume.
We don't have any other with us. It is possible that Eddie
Bernice Johnson from Texas will join us as well, but Dr.
Ehlers, I will recognize you for five minutes.
Mr. Ehlers. Thank you, Mr. Chairman, and first of all I
want to follow up with several questions for Dr. Ginther since
she traveled a great distance to be here. NSF is working to
establish a productivity database. Once this information is
available, can you speak to how it will expand the existing
knowledge base and understanding of the advancement of female
Dr. Ginther. If I may sort of make one small correction, I
proposed to create the productivity database with the survey of
doctorate recipients as part of a grant that I submitted in
2004, and the goal of creating this data was to merge
publications, citations, and patents onto the survey of
doctorate recipients, and this is a work in progress. But the
goal is to see what other factors may explain why women have
not advanced or don't participate in science at the same
numbers as men. And so does productivity, for example, explain
why women in economics are less likely to get tenure? How do
these other variables--you know, as economists, we assume that
people are paid and promoted based on how productive they are,
and in academia, you can measure productivity much better than
you can in say the private sector.
So my goal with the creation of this data is to see if
there are gender differences in productivity and how they
affect the careers of men and women in science. And there are
also positive externalities to creating these data because you
can examine a number of other questions, like why has science
in the United States slowed down in terms of the number of
publications relative to the rest of the world? So the goal is
to create the data, and there is a great interest in the
research community for using it. And hopefully it will sort of
help us narrow down why women are not as prevalent in science
and social science.
Mr. Ehlers. In a nutshell, it seems to me what I have heard
said this morning is that women are not as productive or don't
seem to advance so much primarily because of the childcare
Dr. Ginther. That is what my research indicates, yes.
Mr. Ehlers. Okay. And just a quick question of Dr. Carlson
and Dr. Blevins. Do you find that also in your experience and
in the research you have reviewed?
Dr. Carlson. We have not really looked at that, so I can't
comment on that.
Mr. Ehlers. Okay. But that indicates that is not a matter
of sexual bias so much as the practical aspect of how is the
childcare within the family handled. I am drawing a conclusion.
I wanted to ask you to support or disagree with it.
Dr. Ginther, one other question I had, including all
principal investigators in the workshops seems like it would be
difficult. Can you recommend another method to reach the PIs
who directly oversee post-docs regarding improving the post
doctoral experience for women?
Dr. Ginther. I would say that, you know, before you reach
all PIs, just do a test, you know, to see if sort of providing
them information about bias and other barriers that women face
in science and in the post-doc period matters. Have a treatment
and control group. And then if it does, then you can sort of
selectively identify PIs, especially those who have a number of
post-docs that they supervise and try to disseminate it that
So, you know, I agree it would be really prohibitively
expensive to train each PI, but it would be really useful to
know whether or not training the PIs would matter, and if it
does, you can disseminate this information to the professional
societies and help them to get the message out.
Mr. Ehlers. It is not clear to me. I really appreciate what
you are saying. It seems to me you have got a good handle on
things, but how would you proceed to design pilot programs to
Dr. Ginther. Okay. So you take an agency like NIH which
funds a significant number of post-docs, and you say a
condition of funding is that you take a random sample of 100.
You take 50 and you train them and then you take 50 and you
don't, and then you sort of do a survey and follow up on the
progress of their post-doc mix. And NIH gives millions of
dollars for post-doc training. They have traineeships and
fellowships, and then you can evaluate how these women and men
differentially progress out of the post-doc and into careers.
Mr. Ehlers. That is interesting being a physical scientist,
I hadn't thought of NIH as being the first test bed, but you
are obviously right. They have more money for post-docs.
Dr. Ginther. Yeah, 70 percent of all life scientists have
to have a post-doc before advancing to an academic career. And
now I think the median is more than one.
Mr. Ehlers. Okay. My time has expired. I yield back.
Chairman Baird. Dr. Blevins, did you want to comment
further on the question line that Dr. Ehlers was pursuing
there? You looked like you might have----
Dr. Blevins. Well, I want to qualify that I am also a
physical scientist, not a social scientist, but I think some of
the social scientists who have spoken at our workshops might
differ some with what you said. So I would just urge you to
talk to some of the folks who have come to the workshops and
spoken as well.
Chairman Baird. What would they tell us?
Dr. Blevins. Well, I think the issue of implicit bias is
something that men and women experience and hold and are not
always aware that they do. And these are the things that I
learned at the workshop from the social scientists. While any
one thing might seem like a small thing to which somebody might
be overreacting, if you add up the sum total of all these
things over a course of a person's career, there is a concept
of accumulation of disadvantage that comes into play. So I have
to say I am a little uncomfortable going outside of my comfort
zone on this. That is because I am not a social scientist, but
I would just say that the prevailing sentiment at the workshops
has been that it is more than just a childcare issue.
Chairman Baird. Hence we might make some dent into--I am
not even sure retention is the right word but advancement may
even be a better word--differentials if we provided childcare.
But that might not be sufficient, maybe necessary but not
sufficient. Would that be a fair statement?
Dr. Ginther. I think the issue is complex, you know. I am
not saying that there is no such thing as bias in science. But
for bias to explain everything, it would have to show up in a
lot more places than it does. You know, women in science, once
they get on the tenure track, are equally likely to get tenure
and to become full professor. But at the full professor level,
for some reason, there is a 13 percent pay gap that I can't
explain by observable characteristics. Now I don't have every
observable characteristic. I don't have their productivity. And
you know, as an economist, we believe people are paid according
to their productivity. And it is only until I can disprove that
I will even be able to publish this research in the economics
Chairman Baird. Well, you can just prove that by visiting
Congress. Hang around here for a while. You will see that
productivity is not necessarily directly correlated to pay.
Dr. Ginther. Hey, but your pay is set, right?
Chairman Baird. Yes, QED. The question remains. So we have
had people tell us in this committee that childcare is a factor
but there are also cultural factors, that there are implicit
biases, et cetera. What happens to the women who leave--there
is an implicit assumption here it is a bad thing to leave
academia. Dr. Ehlers and I might not always agree with that.
We've left. What happens to the women who don't go on into the
academic field or the professional field? It would be one thing
if we said, well, X percent higher numbers of women drop out
from that profession, and we assume that is a bad thing. But if
they go onto things that they personally deem to be more
rewarding, either financially or monetarily, it may be a bad
thing in terms of lost productivity, but is it a bad thing for
the women themselves? I am playing devil's advocate here, you
recognize that. Any thoughts on that?
Dr. Ginther. This is sort of my area of expertise. What
happens is if you leave science or if you leave any
professional career, your human capital quickly depreciates.
And if you want to re-enter the labor force, you are not going
to be able to do so. And I think that is especially true--and
receive the same pay as when you left. And I think that is
especially true in science because science moves so quickly. If
women leave science, they are not going to be able to come back
and be scientists once they leave. And so you know there is a
loss in human capital.
Chairman Baird. But the assumption there is that they go
somewhere that is somewhat of a dead end instead of going
somewhere--for example, as competitive as the field is in the
professions, maybe people--I am speculating, it may not be
true. Maybe they are leaving an academic career to go to a
private enterprise career, make more money and have more
success. I don't assume.
Dr. Ginther. I think it is true in certain disciplines,
like, you know, engineering. The track out of a Ph.D. in
engineering is into the private sector because the jobs there
pay better than academia. But some jobs, I mean, you can't
really do particle physics in the private sector. And so as a
result, I mean, you kind of have an option of the labs at the
university or not doing particle physics. So I can't really
comment on what they end up doing, but we see in all levels,
highly educated women are leaving the labor force now outside
of academia, and it seems to correlate with having children.
Chairman Baird. Yeah. So we have got to address that. There
is no question. But Dr. Blevins seems to be asserting there is
much more to it than that, that there are these biases, et
cetera. So hence, that is the workshop component that is--back
to this legislation per se, that is the workshop component and
that is the rationale. What is not in this legislation, and Dr.
Ehlers, I am running over here, but what is not in this
legislation that you believe should be if we are to try to
redress some--and obviously the issue Dr. Ginther has raised
already about indirect costs for childcare. What else is there?
Dr. Ginther. Well, there is how to spend direct costs from
your grants toward covering issues like childcare for travel. I
think Mr. Campbell testified previously that the R&D rules are
too restrictive about that.
Chairman Baird. Okay. Other thoughts? Dr. Ehlers, I
recognize you for other questions.
Mr. Ehlers. I have no further questions, Mr. Chairman.
Chairman Baird. Neither do I, and with that, I thank the
witnesses for their patience, and we apologize for the
interruptions and the distractions. It is a difficult
environment. They have not yet asked Dr. Ehlers or I how we
would run the schedule here, but I can assure you it would be
So thank you for your time and thanks for the guests who
joined us today as well in the audience, and with that, this
hearing stands adjourned. And if people have follow-up comments
they wish to offer, please feel free to do so. Thank you.
[Whereupon, at 11:26 a.m., the Subcommittee was adjourned.]
Answers to Post-Hearing Questions
Responses by Lynda T. Carlson, Director, Division of Science Resources
Statistics (SRS), National Science Foundation (NSF)
Questions submitted by Representative Eddie Bernice Johnson
Q1. I realize that your testimony specifically discusses the NSF
Division of Science Resources Statistics, also called the SRS. Is there
cross-talk between SRS and the Survey of Earned Doctorates, which is
currently repressing statistics on minority Ph.D. grantees? What is
being done to rectify this data repression?
A1. The Division of Science Resources (SRS) is the federal statistical
agency with responsibility for data and analysis on the science and
engineering enterprise, writ large. As part of that responsibility SRS
conducts the Survey of Earned Doctorates (SED), which is a survey of
all Ph.D. recipients from U.S. academic institutions.
Last full during a review of its data protection procedures
conducted in light of newly issued guidelines for the Confidential
Information Protection and Statistical Efficiency Act of 2002 (CIPSEA),
SRS implemented more stringent rules to protect the confidentiality of
data provided by respondents to the SED. This additional protection
resulted in a decrease in the number of cells in which data were
published in the SED 2006 Summary Report as compared to SED Summary
Reports published in previous years. Tables that individuals special
ordered from the survey contractor also had fewer cells with published
data. The cells affected related primarily to race/ethnicity,
citizenship and gender.
After publishing the 2006 SED tabulations, NSF/SRS received many
complaints from the user community about the availability of less
information for under-represented minorities than previously released.
A great deal of the concern related to the fact that SRS implemented
the changes without input from the user community. Users strongly
suggested that SRS solicit user input as to how best to design the
tables to meet a broad spectrum of user needs. NSF has listened to this
concern. The following statement was released by NSF in May:
``SRS will be releasing the race/ethnicity, citizenship and
gender data collected for the 2006 Survey of Earned Doctorates
(SED) as in previous years. There are privacy and
confidentiality issues that must be addressed, particularly in
the context of small data sets. The question of how to
aggregate the data in future years will be addressed with the
data user community over the next few months and new tables
will be developed to release data from the 2007 SED.''
Tables containing 2006 SED data with the same level of detail as in
previous years for race/ethnicity, citizenship and gender can be
requested through a link on the NSF/SRS website at http://www.nsf.gov/
The same web page has a comment box requesting suggestions for ways
to redesign the SED data tables so that they will address both issues
of privacy/confidentiality and the needs of data users. SRS is also
asking interested parties to take part in a web survey on the redesign
of the SED data tables. We hope that interested parties will avail
themselves of both the comment box and the web survey to help SRS
redesign the tables. SRS is also engaging in an extensive outreach
effort to solicit information about the ways in which SED data are used
and to garner suggestions for alternative ways to present the data.
NSF/SRS understands the importance of reporting on the progress of
under-represented minorities in science and engineering (S&E). This
consideration will guide the development of alternative data displays
that will document the role of under-represented minorities in S&E and
the redesign of tables to display this information to the maximum
To meet the needs of users for 2007 data from the SED on a similar
schedule as in previous years, SRS will release in late 2008 high-level
summary statistics of 2007 SED data in an InfoBrief (see htt;://
www.nsf.gov/statistics/infbrief/nsf08301/ for the 2006 InfoBrief).
Concurrently SRS will be redesigning the tables for the full 2007 SED
Summary report, which is planned for release in spring 2009.
Answers to Post-Hearing Questions
Responses by Linda G. Blevins, Senior Technical Advisor, Office of the
Deputy Director for Science Programs, U.S. Department of Energy
Questions submitted by Representative Eddie Bernice Johnson
Q1. Dr. Ginther expressed concern about motivation among workshop
participants. She cites her own discipline, economics, as being
particularly hostile to this kind of workshop. Did you find this to be
a problem at all in the workshops that you participated in? Are there
best practices specifically to overcome any reluctance on the part of
A1. For the chemistry and physics workshops, some department chairs
were motivated to attend and some were not. Each chair was first
contacted by a steering committee member. The steering committee
members were able to use their considerable influence in the scientific
community to convince most department chairs to attend; however, a few
were reluctant. The reluctant participants were then contacted by the
federal program managers in the sponsoring agencies; some were called
several times. Convincing the last few chairs to attend required a
great deal of work by both the steering committees and the federal
Q2. How often do you think that gender bias workshops should be held
for each discipline in order for attitudinal changes to spread
throughout the community, and not just among the department chairs who
participate directly in the workshops?
A2. We do not currently have enough data to make this prediction. To
date, no community has held more than one gender equity workshop. The
workshops have been driven and owned by the communities, and the
communities are currently examining their outcomes. The assessment
results from the first round of workshops should inform decisions of
whether or not to hold follow-on workshops.
Answers to Post-Hearing Questions
Responses by Donna K. Ginther, Associate Professor, Department of
Economics; Director, Center for Economic and Business Analysis,
University of Kansas
Questions submitted by Representative Eddie Bernice Johnson
Q1. Can you propose more specifically how universities can count
childcare facilities toward indirect costs?
A1. Availability of daycare on campus is in short-supply. No faculty
member can be productive if they are preoccupied with the care of their
children while they are at work. Some institutions include on-site
childcare as a fringe benefit, which for grants purposes is considered
a direct cost.\1\ However, in practice, the number of childcare spaces
on campus is so limited that enrolling a child in daycare is akin to
winning the lottery. Furthermore, if on-site childcare is available,
often it is for children who are one year or older. Infant daycare
slots are extremely difficult to come by.
\1\ In the University of Kansas F&A agreement, on-site childcare is
not counted as a fringe benefit.
The Federal Government can create incentives for on-site childcare
by allowing universities to count childcare facilities, building
depreciation, and operation and maintenance as part of indirect costs
associated with grants. According to the NIH website (http://
grants.nih.gov/training/faq-childcare.htm): ``The HHS
Division of Cost Accounting found that many grantees offer subsidized
child care centers and have negotiated costs associated with such
centers into their employee benefit rates. No grantee was identified
that covers such costs through indirect costs.'' This statement
indicates that it might be possible for universities to include
childcare space available on campus in their calculation of indirect
My sense is that funding agencies such as NSF and NIH would need to
be instructed by OMB to allow childcare space to count toward indirect
costs in much the same way that these costs are calculated for
laboratory space. Since infant care is a crucial issue for most faculty
(and in the shortest supply), the availability of infant spaces should
be counted at a higher indirect cost rate than spaces for older
If universities were allowed and encouraged to count childcare
spaces towards indirect costs, this would provide a subsidy to the
provision of childcare on campus. It would benefit all faculty, but
would likely benefit female faculty more since on average they shoulder
the burden of caregiving responsibilities.
Q2. Would childcare be listed as an individual investigator cost? I
can tell you that some Science Committee Members as well as the public
would be displeased that research monies are being spent on childcare.
Can you suggest a tenable alternative?
A2. I would not recommend listing childcare as an individual
investigator cost. All U.S. taxpayers receive tax breaks for childcare
expenses. Allowing individual investigators to charge grants directly
for all childcare expenses would be a huge subsidy to individual
investigators relative to the average worker. The primary beneficiaries
would likely be male investigators with children.
However, I support Myron Campbell's testimony before the Committee
which recommended that Federal OMB guidelines\2\ be modified to allow
faculty members to charge grants for the cost of childcare during a
conference, or the cost of having small children travel to conferences
be charged against direct or indirect grant costs (http://
17oct/Campbell-testimony.pdf). It is very difficult to
attend conferences when an investigator has small children. Speaking
from personal experience, when I have attended conferences my husband
and I have paid for our parents to come to our house to help with the
children. Fortunately, we have the funds to cover these expenses.
However, most individual investigators are not so lucky. Thus, the only
direct childcare costs charged to grants would be for out-of-town
travel either to pay for childcare when an investigator is attending a
conference or to pay for children to travel to conferences with their
investigator-parent. Currently, investigators can charge travel
expenses towards research grants. Allowing these additional charges
would just increase the travel portion of the researcher's budget.
Additional Material for the Record