John Tierney's remarks about women in mathematics and science do not reflect current reality. Although, in the past, the proportions of women entering mathematics remained stable for decades or declined, since the 1970s, women have entered mathematics and science in greater and greater numbers. Now, five years after Lawrence Summers’ remarks, the news is even better.
In mathematics, the proportion of assistant professors at U.S. research universities who are women is currently the same as the proportion of women who earn Ph.D. degrees, about 30%. However, the same National Research Council study that documents this and other welcome changes also provides evidence that socio-cultural barriers remain, and women with mathematics Ph.D.s are not as equitably represented in the higher faculty ranks of research universities.
We call on educational and governmental leaders to continue their positive actions to encourage the influx of women and minorities into mathematics, science, and engineering.
President, Association for Women in Mathematics
June 10, 2010