cover of book

Women in science: career processes and outcomes
by Yu Xie and Kimberlee A. Shauman
Harvard University Press, 2003
Cloth: 978-0-674-01034-5
Library of Congress Classification Q130.Z54 2003
Dewey Decimal Classification 305.435


Why do so few women choose a career in science--even as they move into medicine and law in ever-greater numbers? In one of the most comprehensive studies of gender differences in science careers ever conducted, Women in Science provides a systematic account of how U.S. youth are selected into and out of science education in early life, and how social forces affect career outcomes later in the science labor market.

Studying the science career trajectory in its entirety, the authors attend to the causal influences of prior experiences on career outcomes as well as the interactions of multiple life domains such as career and family. While attesting to the progress of women in science, the book also reveals continuing gender differences in mathematics and science education and in the progress and outcomes of scientists' careers. The authors explore the extent and causes of gender differences in undergraduate and graduate science education, in scientists' geographic mobility, in research productivity, in promotion rates and earnings, and in the experience of immigrant scientists. They conclude that the gender gap in parenting responsibilities is a critical barrier to the further advancement of women in science.

Table of Contents:


1. Introduction
2. Math and Science Achievement
3. Expectation of a Science/Engineering College Major
4. Attainment of a Science/Engineering Baccalaureate
5. Career Paths after a Science/Engineering Baccalaureate
6. Career Paths after a Science/Engineering Master's Degree
7. Demographic and Labor Force Profiles of Scientists
8. Geographic Mobility of Scientists/Engineers
9. Research Productivity
10. Immigrant Scientists/Engineers

Appendix A. Descriptions of the Data
Appendix B. Method for Decomposition Analysis
Appendix C. Detailed Occupation Codes in Science and Engineering
Appendix D. Detailed Statistical Tables


Reviews of this book:
Do young women take fewer mathematics and science courses in high school than young men, leaving them less prepared and therefore less likely to major in science and engineering fields in college? Is a woman with a bachelor's degree in science and engineering more likely to have begun her college career as a science major, or on a non-science track? This book, ten years in the making, offers definitive and surprising answers to these and other long-standing questions about women in science.
--Abigail J. Stewart and Danielle LaVaque-Manty, Nature

Reviews of this book:
Sociologists Xie and Shauman have prepared this detailed and scholarly study of the career paths of women in science, remarkable for the comprehensive scope of its contents as well as the detail and precision of its findings...It is the most carefully argued and well-documented investigation of both the gender differences in science and the reason women leave science presently available--an important and praiseworthy contribution.
--M. H. Chaplin, Choice

This is a substantial piece of work on a significant topic. Recalling Karl Popper's emphasis on falsification, I am impressed with the number of important propositions the authors were able to put to rest. The melding of technical skill and cogent argumentation is remarkable.
--Otis Dudley Duncan, University of California, Santa Barbara

Xie and Shauman skillfully analyze 17 data sets to pinpoint forces that lead fewer women than men into careers in science or engineering. Their scope is the whole life cycle - from high school to graduate school to combining jobs with families. This is the book to read on why most scientists and engineers are men.
--Paula England, Northwestern University

This is an impressive piece of work and is likely to become the standard reference for understanding gender differences with respect to involvement in science for many years to come. The authors are to be particularly congratulated on the scope of their project in terms of the breadth of the life cycle that it covers.
--Christopher Winship, Harvard University

I have not seen any other volume that covers the career process of women as thoroughly as this investigation of how women become scientists and engineers and what causes them to leave these fields at much greater rates than men.
--Suzanne M. Bianchi, University of Maryland

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