Women of MIT - Welcome and Introductory Remarks
MINDELL: Good morning. It's my pleasure to introduce the MIT150 Symposium on Leaders in Science and Engineering-- The Women of MIT. The core of MIT's 150th anniversary celebrations is what comprises the core of MIT-- thinkers students, researchers, and professors talking about great ideas, contemplating the world, and perhaps even making a little progress on some of its problems.
Some of the other symposia this term focus on economics and finance, which occurred in late January; conquering cancer through science and engineering, which was last week; computation and the transformation of our world, which will be in mid-April; the future of exploration and earth, air, ocean, and space, which will be in late April; and finally, new approaches to the problem of intelligence in early May. Of course, these topics in no way cover the full range of the research that goes on at MIT, but they are a very rich sampling of cutting-edge work that epitomizes the best of MIT.
I also want to particularly draw your attention to the next century convocation, which is on April 10, celebrating the actual day of the signing of the charter. I encourage you all to register online and attend. It's free, and the whole campus plus alumni are invited. It's sure to be a stupendous, once-in-a-lifetime event, a rare opportunity for an entire community to gather to honor scholarship, service, and all the contributions of all the people who comprise MIT. This historic day will renew our sense of belonging to a great institution of accomplishment and purpose.
As chair of the MIT150 steering committee, and as an engineer and historian of technology, I've become something of a student of MIT history. So I want to say a few words about how today's symposium relates to that larger history.
In 1853, William Barton Rogers came north from Virginia to pursue his dream of a new kind of technical education that would mix the world of science and the useful arts, theory, and practice-- what we have come to know as Men's et Manus, Mind and Hand.
Rogers' vision was actually inclusive. Professors' lectures should be useful to everyone, he wrote, which might draw all the lovers of knowledge of both sexes to the halls of the Institute. As Charles Eliot wrote in 1869 when he was an MIT professor-- the graduates of this new institute with this new education would require courage. So much would their preparation differ from those of other leaders in their society with whom they would rub shoulders. No one would require that courage so much as the women of MIT.
Indeed, just as Eliot was writing those words, a young woman, Ellen Swallow, was graduating from Vassar College. As she contemplated a career in the science that she loved, she wrote, "My life is to be one of active fighting." This spirit suited her well to MIT of course, which, forward-thinking but still insecure in its early years, and very much a product of its time, admitted her with hesitation and off the books as an "experiment."
She became MIT's first alum in 18-- first alumna in 1873. A nerd in the finest MIT tradition, her husband proposed to her in an MIT laboratory, and they spent their honeymoon visiting mines and collecting ore samples with students in tow.
She became-- also in the finest MIT tradition, Swallow-Richards went on to have an accomplished career in teaching and science. As the founder of home economics, her "scientific" nutrition helped introduce ideas like calories, protein, and carbohydrates into the American home, where they remain today. She also made major contributions to food science, mineralogy, and industrial chemistry.
Among her many other accomplishments, she conducted a comprehensive survey of water quality in Massachusetts that led to the first water quality standards in the United States. Swallow-Richards also had great accomplishments in teaching. She opened a women's laboratory at MIT and taught hundreds of women who would not otherwise have had any access to laboratory-based education, MIT's unique trademark. She even conducted correspondence courses to teach women science at home, and sent them microscopes in the mail and encouraging them to explore their surroundings.
MIT formally began accepting special students, quote, "without distinction of sex" in 1876. Women were accepted as regular students in 1882. The origins of AMITA, the Association of MIT Alumna, date to 1899 as the MIT Women's Association, of which Richards was the first president.
By 1916, when MIT moved across the river from Boston to Cambridge, more than 600 women in total had attended the Institute. But the enrollment had actually declined by then to less than 1% of the student body. Indeed, this is a theme you see running throughout the first 100 years or so of MIT's women, which is outstanding individuals, but very small numbers.
To be sure, many of these few women were stars with impact far beyond the walls of MIT. For example, Catherine Dexter McCormick, class of 1904, who is a leader in the women's suffrage movement, supported research and development for the birth control pill, and later in life endowed McCormick Hall.
It was not until the '20s and the '30s that most MIT departments awarded their first graduate degrees to women. The first woman to receive a PhD was in 1922, which you'll be hearing a little bit more about later. Margaret Hutchinson Rousseau, class of '37, received the first doctorate in chemical engineering awarded to a woman in the United States.
Between 1940 and 1950, more than 180 degrees were awarded to women, including 23 PhDs. Graduates from this period included Mary Frances Wagley, class of '47 in chemistry, the first woman on the MIT corporation, the first woman to head the Alumni Association, and MIT life member of the Corporation emerita. And also, of course Emily Wade, class of '45, the second woman president of the Alumni Association, and also a corporation life member emerita.
Again, though, despite the accomplished individuals, after World War II, the numbers actually went down as men returned from war and took up the slots. By 1964, the percentage of women awarded degrees at MIT remained still at only a few percent, pretty much where it had been in 1916. It would rise to 13% by 1979 and to 45% of undergraduates today.
Again, among those small numbers, of course we find remarkable women, like today's panelist, the honorable Shirley Ann Jackson. She would graduate in the class of 1968, and in 1973 become the first African-American woman to earn a doctorate in physics when she received her PhD from MIT.
The troubling small numbers were not lost on the students. In 1964, the Association of Women Students sponsored a National Symposium titled American Women in Science and Engineering. That association and the symposium were headed by then student Margaret MacVicar. Of course, Margaret MacVicar would go on to found the Europe Program as a 26-year-old junior faculty member, become MIT's first dean of undergraduate education, and is today memorialized in MIT's highest award for undergraduate teaching in the MacVicar fellowships.
Yet, we can see that 1964 meeting that she and her colleagues organized as something of a predecessor to today's gathering. Yet again, despite stars like Margaret MacVicar, the number of women on the faculty remained remarkably few. The first woman professor was nearly at MIT's centennial, Elspeth Rostow, appointed in economics and social science in 1952. And the first female professor in science was Emily Wick, appointed in 1959. It's telling that the first female faculty member in engineering, now Institute Professor Sheila Widnall, appointed in 1964, is still today a very active member of our faculty.
The more recent history of the last 50 years, and the events leading up to the 1990 report, and the one released last week are the subject of today's symposium, and I won't say too much about them. In fact, the people on the panels are really the people who made that history, and I'm sure that at the bicentennial they will be hailed as the pioneers as MIT celebrates its 200th anniversary.
My thanks to professors Cynthia Bernhardt, Ed Bertschinger, Penny Chisholm, Barbara Liskov, Hazel Sive, Ian Waitz, and Katherine Wertheim for their willingness to step up and organize this historic gathering, particularly their coordination with the new research results released in last week's report. Nothing could be more exciting for an MIT150 symposia than to say something new about this critical topic.
An indication of the importance of this topic for MIT, and for science and engineering in general, is that of this organizing committee we find two associate deans, an associate provost, an institute professor, two department heads, one of whom is now dean.
I'd also like to thank and acknowledge the MIT150 staff led by Gail Gallagher and Ted Johnson for the stupendous organizational skills in pulling this and so many events- I think we have more than 100 at this point-- all together. It's a pleasure for me and a privilege to work with them.
According to the report released last week, the changes that have had the greatest impact in the past 10 years include increasing numbers of women faculty, increasing women faculty in the academic administration, including the president of MIT. I will now introduce Susan Hockfield, the president of MIT who not only represents those positive changes, but also has both presided over and enacted many of them herself. She's also provided the leadership and the driving force behind the MIT 150th celebrations, for which I'm deeply grateful. Susan.
Good morning, everyone.
HOCKFIELD: Thank you, David. David is very generous in his thanks, but we really have to thank him, because he has given the Institute truly a tremendous gift in his leadership of the entire and I would say entirely wonderful MIT150 celebrations. You heard again this morning what happens when MIT's history is sifted and showcased by a distinguished historian of technology. It is just hugely illuminating. And David, thank you for all your service, including today's window on the role of women in shaping the early history of MIT.
I also want to join David in thanking all those who helped bring this symposium to life-- the organizers, the panelists, the moderators, and especially our distinguished speakers, who have come from great very great distances to be with us today. I'm really delighted to have you join us.
Now, I sometimes say that MIT's job is inventing the future. And today's symposium illustrates this idea in a number of compelling ways. To start with, this symposium stands as a stunning demonstration of science and engineering that go on at MIT. The researchers speaking over the next two days represent the leading edge of inquiry, from computing to chemistry, from pure physics to Parkinson's disease.
And over the course of this symposium, you will hear from three winners of the National Medal of Science, the nation's highest distinction in science, one winner of the Turing Award, basically the Nobel Prize of computer science, two winners of the MacArthur Genius Award, two Howard Hughes Medical Institute investigators, seven members of the National Academy of Sciences, four members of the National Academy of Engineering, and pioneers who have mapped the surface of Mars, invented a battery self-assembled by viruses, co-discovered the important role of tiny ocean plankton in the global nitrogen cycle, and discovered exoplanet atmospheres that may be compatible with carbon-based life.
By adding to the stock of new knowledge in their respective fields, these women, and everyone I just mentioned is a woman, are without question inventing the future. Yet, beyond their extraordinary research, they invent the future in other ways too. They're directly engaged in educating the next generation of pioneers in their fields, and at the same time they serve as inspirational role models for young women and men who seek rewarding lives of discovery and innovation.
To borrow a phrase from an illustrious MIT alumna, an extraordinary role model herself, and I quote, "Education is change. By educating successive generations, you embed change in a living society, inventing the future indeed." And it's our great honor that the author of those words is with us today, Rensselaer's president Shirley Ann Jackson.
And of course, this symposium celebrates and builds on yet another way MIT is helping to invent the future through the Institute's remarkable progress in making our campus a richly supportive environment for women faculty. About 12 years ago, MIT released a report detailing measurable inequities between women on the faculty in the School of Science and their male colleagues, in lab and office space, in compensation, and in opportunities for advancement.
Both the report and the decision to release it were signature MIT-- confident, unflinching, and courageous. Confident because of the data, unflinching because of what the data revealed, and courageously committed to solving the problem, not just for MIT, but for the wider world.
In the years since, faculty and staff across the Institute have used the report's findings to improve our practices in everything, from recruitment to child care. And just last week, the new report on the status of women faculty in the Schools of Science and Engineering at MIT made clear that our persistent efforts have made a transformative difference.
The new report delivers the encouraging message that progress is possible, even on such a deeply-rooted social issue, and that progress is possible in the space of years, not lifetimes. It also outlines a set of issues that still demand our attention, including improved mentoring and better distribution of Institute responsibilities. All this brings me to this morning's symposium, simply overwhelming with gratitude to many.
First I want to express our profound thanks to the MIT women faculty who led the groundbreaking charge for equity, spearheaded by Professor Nancy Hopkins, and those who took it upon themselves to conduct the new study as well. For any of you who really like to see history, you can view Nancy's tape measure-- among the 150 objects collected at the MIT museum's exhibition celebrating our sesquicentennial.
Second, our thanks go to the women and men who insisted on the changes called for in the original report, and to those who have sustained momentum for change since then. In particular, I want to thank our guests, former dean of science Bob Birgeneau and former MIT President Chuck Vest for facing the very difficult message of the original report, and for acting on those findings.
We also owe a huge bouquet of thanks to Provost Rafael Rife for his determined and relentless efforts over the last almost six years to advance the cause of equity and inclusion. His efforts take forms large and small, from insisting on broadened faculty searches and appointing the Institute's first associate provost for faculty equity, to listening very closely to hear even the whispers of discomfort and rapidly acting on them. Rafael's unswerving vigilance has kept these issues front and center, and is responsible in large part for MIT's success in retaining and hiring so many outstanding women faculty. Together in the classic MIT spirit of can-do problem solving, these Institute leaders have produced results that are both practically useful and personally exhilarating for women in science and engineering at MIT and around the world.
I want to offer one last personal thank you. As a neuroscientist, I am, like many of you, a woman in science. I lead an institution that includes hundreds of women scientists and engineers of every age. I also have a daughter who, like many of her friends, is a young woman preparing for a life in science. I want to thank all of those who have worked so hard to make our institutions places where no one questions a woman's right to choose this path, nor their right to fair treatment every step of the way. Above all, thank you for inspiring them and the women around the world with the power and possibility shown by your work in engineering and science. It is truly a gift to the world.
David mentioned Ellen Swallow-Richards, the first great pioneer for women at MIT. Her example as a superb researcher, a brilliant student, a brilliant teacher, and a tireless advocate for women, rings out in the lives of the remarkable leaders we'll hear from today. Ellen Swallow-Richards used to sign her letters with two words-- keep thinking. I'm confident that if we keep thinking together, MIT will continue to earn its reputation for inventing the future-- a brighter, more fascinating, more equitable future for all. Thank you very much for being with us today.
And now I have the pleasure of introducing to you someone who, by example, demonstrates how an individual can help advance equity and inclusion-- professor Ed Bertschinger, head of the Department of Physics. His mentorship includes a blog on MIT's diversity website and his chairmanship of this symposium. Through both, he has articulated the importance of diversity and inclusion in science and engineering.
A member of the MIT Kavli Institute for Astrophysics and Space Research, he leads a research program studying dark energy and dark matter. Our Department of Physics is among the world's top ranked physics departments for both research and teaching. Professor Bertschinger believes that to amplify the department's impressive reputation, it must actively reach out to underrepresented minorities and women. Ladies and gentlemen, Professor Ed Bertschinger.
BERTSCHINGER: Thank you very much, President Hockfield and David Mindell, for your moving remarks that helped put in context this historic occasion. I want to add my thanks as well to the Institute staff who helped put together these symposia-- Ted Johnson, the director of Institute events, Conference Services Manager Cathi Levine, Allison Newman, and especially physics events coordinator Nina Wu, whose hard work, all of them, made this symposium come together.
I also want to add my thanks to my fellow organizing committee members Cindy Barnhart, Penny Chisholm, and Ian Waitz from engineering, Hazel Sive and [INAUDIBLE] from the School of Science, and Barbara Liskov, Institute professor. Their advice and input and encouragement in putting together this symposium, and combining it with the report that was mentioned, were critical in bringing together this event, and I am looking forward to celebrating with them. I want to thank Dean Mark Kastner and Dean Ian Waitz, and his predecessor Subra Suresh, for their financial support and encouragement of this symposium.
A couple of program notes-- there are 30-minute breaks in the morning and in the afternoon each day. I would ask attendees to return promptly from them so that we can keep on schedule as best we can. And today at lunch, lunch will be served with boxes available for those who pre-registered and obtained the tickets on the second floor of the student center, where we will celebrate with the family of Dr. Elizabeth Gatewood, MIT's first female PhD, awarded in chemistry in 1922.
Over a year ago, the organizing committee set about preparing a symposium to celebrate the success of women in science and engineering at MIT with the understanding that MIT's leadership in recognizing and confronting its problems of gender bias and discrimination was a landmark. While the story of MIT's response was historic, another measure of MIT's success is in the accomplishments of a growing number of women faculty members.
This symposium presents an outstanding set of accessible talks by leaders in science and engineering. We were fortunate to have these stars and many others on our faculty. And I'm personally delighted that every MIT speaker who was invited accepted the invitation and is here to speak at the symposium.
In addition to the science talks, we will hear from very distinguished speakers about the impact of MIT's leadership across the nation, as well as our need to continue improvements towards full equity. Many of the ideas that will be discussed have been raised by our own women faculty in a report commissioned specifically for this symposium, which you have picked up along with the program. That report is a follow-up to the 1999 and 2002 reports on women faculty in science and engineering.
I thank all of the women who contributed to the new report, and especially Hazel Sive and Lorna Gibson, who chaired the science and engineering sections.
It now gives me great pleasure to introduce our keynote speaker, Professor Nancy Hopkins. She is the Amgen professor of biology and a celebrated microbiologist. Professor Hopkins studies early development, longevity, and predisposition to cancer in zebrafish. She has made this little fish a model for studies of those important elements of our own human physiology. The importance of this work has led to her election to the National Academy of Sciences, the Institute of Medicine, and the American Academy of Arts and Sciences.
In addition to her scientific contributions, Professor Hopkins is well known for her work promoting gender equity in academia. She chaired the committee that wrote the 1999 report on the status of women in the School of Science. Over the past year, I've had the special pleasure to get to know Professor Hopkins as a colleague, a friend, and mentor. Nancy Hopkins will now give our keynote address on the status of women in science and engineering at MIT. Please join me in welcoming her.
HOPKINS: Okay. Well, I'm gonna have to talk fast, because I think I'm already behind in my schedule. So I hope I have time to do all this. Can I get the first slide up? Let's see. There we go. Okay. Well, thank you very much, Ed and Susan and David. And thank you to the organizers for the opportunity to reflect on the changing status of women in science and engineering at MIT.
So if you've happened to read a newspaper or magazine in the last 30 years, you've undoubtedly read about the under-representation of women in science and engineering in the United States, particularly at the high end of these professions. And no doubt you have heard of the infamous leaky pipeline, which refers to the fact that talented women in science and engineering have traditionally left these fields at a higher rate than men at every stage of career. So by the time you get to the top, as we heard, the percent of women is still quite small.
Enormous amounts of time, energy, money have been spent analyzing this problem. And today we really know quite a lot about it. Perhaps not surprisingly, MIT has made several very significant contributions to understanding the leaky pipeline, what causes it, and how to fix it.
It turns out that understanding this problem requires that you do two things-- analyze the numbers of women in science and engineering as a function of time, and what changed those numbers, and examine the experiences of the women who first entered these fields as undergraduates, moved on to graduate school, joined university faculties, and became professors. When you do these two things, the mystery actually begins to evaporate and a quite fascinating story emerges.
Today I'm going to take you through that story using primarily MIT data and experiences, but what I have to say really applies to all comparable research universities. And much of what I have to say about the leaky pipeline of women in science and engineering pertains to the advancement of women to the top of other previously male-dominated occupations.
It might surprise you to know that the percent of women on the science faculty of MIT today is greater than the percent of women in the United States Senate. Shocking.
I'll begin with numbers that display the leaky pipeline. I'll use, again, data from MIT throughout this whole talk, because if there's one thing that MIT excels at, as you know, it's collecting data. And all the numerical data I'm going to show is thanks to Lydia Snover and her wonderful colleagues in the Office of Institutional Research at MIT. So I thank them for all the work that they have contributed to our efforts over many years.
This slide shows the percent of MIT undergraduates, graduate students, and faculty-- undergraduates at the top. Does that show? Yes. Undergraduates, graduate students in science and engineering faculty. Today, about 45% of undergraduates majoring in science and engineering at MIT are women, 29% percent of graduate students, and 17% of science and engineering faculty combined. So that's the drop off that I mentioned about the leaky pipeline-- 45, 29, 17.
This picture can be divided into two distinct segments, as David referred to earlier. For the century ending in the mid-1960s to early '70s, fewer than 5% of MIT undergraduates and PhD students were women, except during the two world wars when men went away. And there were no women faculty in science and engineering in this period.
Then, suddenly, the student curves began to rise dramatically in the late '60s, early '70s, and the faculty curves began to rise above zero, and then the increased in the early '70s. Why is this? The turning point was the passage of the 1964 Civil Rights Act and subsequent Affirmative Action Laws, and the women's movement, which altered people's thinking dramatically about the role of women in society.
But why then no women on the science and engineering faculty for the first 100 years? After all, a few women got PhDs as early as the 1920s, as we heard. I don't know the answer for MIT specifically, because I wasn't here. But the following anecdote applies probably to most universities in the United States.
When I was a graduate student in the 1960s, I worked summers at the Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory, where I met a remarkable woman scientist named Barbara McClintock. I was in my early 20s, Barbara in her late 60s. I thought she was ancient. I think in this picture she's actually in her 80s. And one day Barbara showed me a letter that had been written a number of years earlier, probably in the 1940s , to a biology department chair by a well-known geneticist.
The chair was soliciting suggestions for candidates to fill a faculty opening in his department. The geneticists had offered several candidates' names, and then added, of course, the number one person in the world in this field is Barbara McClintock. It's too bad you can't hire her, because she's a woman. Barbara told me she could not get a faculty job in any university science department, only in home economics departments. So women simply could not get faculty jobs and science departments before the mid 1960s.
Fortunately, Barbara managed to get a job as a research scientist at Cold Spring Harbor with support from the Carnegie Foundation. And by the way, at the age of 81, she won the Nobel Prize in medicine. Now, I mention this story because we think of science as a meritocracy, and to a very large degree, it is. But Barbara McClintock's story shows that societal beliefs can overpower merit. You could be the best in the world and still not be hired.
So as we see in this slide, in 1964 it became illegal to deny women access to jobs based on gender. In addition, the number of women science and engineering majors began to climb nationally, as did the number of graduate students. Women began to be hired onto science and engineering faculties. So people assumed after that it was just a matter of time until women would quickly comprise half the science and engineering faculty, but that was not what happened, as the next slide shows in greater detail for the science faculty of MIT.
So the previous slide showed the percent of women faculty in science and engineering combined. And this slide shows the actual number of women faculty just in the six departments at MIT as a function-- six science departments of MIT as a function of time.
So in 1960, there actually weren't any women in the current six departments of science that we have today. They began to be hired in the mid 1960s. And by 1970 the number had reached two. There were 264 men. Then, after 1971, the number shoots up by a factor of 10. Why is that?
1971 saw the implementation of the affirmative action regulations under the 1964 Civil Rights Act-- the Shultz regs, named after then US secretary of labor George Shultz. The Shultz regs required universities to submit written plans to hire women, and to do so or risk losing their federal funding. Women were hired because the Civil Rights Act removed the barrier to their being hired, and the federal law mandated it.
I was approximately-- oh, go back. I was approximately number 10 on this rising curve. I was hired in 1973. I was superbly trained. I'd done very visible research as a graduate student at Harvard. Had I been a man and applied for a job, I bet I would've gotten it. But I hadn't thought to apply actually. I was actively recruited by MIT and Harvard-- and chose MIT-- for my credentials, but I assume in part because it was the law.
You'll notice that after this curve got up to about 20 women, hence 7% or 8% of the science faculty, it pancaked for 20 years. If you were to plot a graph of the number of women faculty in engineering, it's almost super-imposable on this curve during this early period. It begins in 1964 with the hiring of Sheila Widnall, and then it shoots up about 1973 or 1974 to reach 10 women faculty before plateauing for a decade. I'll come back to these plateaus and to the forces that drove the curves up again. But first, a major conclusion from this historical view.
Why did I tell you all this ancient history, particularly when we have experts like David to reflect on it? But here's why I wanted to introduce my topic really by doing this. In retrospect, it's very obvious that not being able to get a job is a serious barrier to women's advancement. Equally clear is that the early '70s were a turning point that threw open the doors of universities and other workplaces to women.
But what we did not know then, what is not easy to see, and what has taken us nearly 50 years to understand is that on the other side of that 1964 wall were a series of obstacles to women's advancement that were unanticipated and largely invisible. Furthermore, some of these obstacles were almost as effective at excluding women as the fact that they couldn't get a job at all.
It turns out identifying these invisible gender-based obstacles and removing them takes about 30 years. When you realize there wasn't just one of them, but several, it's easy to see why the pipeline leaked and why women's progress to the top has been so slow. So next I'm going to describe how the key obstacles were identified and removed. And I'll keep a running list so by the end of this talk, hopefully we'll have a complete explanation for the leaky pipeline.
Okay. So far we have just one obvious obstacle. Before 1964, could not be hired. Definite obstacle. Okay. Well, to explain how the barriers to women's advancement were identified, you have to turn now to the experiences of those pioneers on the front of the waves of undergraduates and graduate students I showed you before, some of whom went on to become faculty.
So the question is-- again, I don't know if-- yes, here we are. Okay, what happened to these women who began to come into MIT as science and engineering majors, then became graduate students, and ultimately moved onto the faculty? What were the experiences of those women who began to pour into the system in the early '70s?
Soon after I arrived at MIT in 1973, I met Mary Rowe. She had been appointed by President Wiesner and then chancellor Paul Gray at the request of the few women faculty who had arrived several years before me to deal with issues that were already affecting female students and faculty.
And here is a picture of Mary Rowe. Mary became a pioneer in women's issues at MIT and in the United States. When we met, she was grappling with an issue I had never heard of called sexual harassment. She told me that female students were having a difficult time dealing with professors who wanted to date them. I didn't understand immediately the seriousness of this problem. You put men and women together in the workplace. What had they expected?
Nor did I think that I had ever experienced sexual harassment as an undergraduate. It took me some years to realize that maybe I had. For example, here's a curious case. When I was an undergraduate at Harvard, I was sitting at my lab desk one day writing up notes. The door of the lab flew open, and there stood a scientist I didn't know, but recognized instantly. Before I could rise from my desk and shake his hand, he had zoomed across the room, stood behind me, put his hands on my breasts and said, what are you working on. It was Francis Crick, the co-discoverer of the structure of DNA.
Did I feel harassed? No, not at all. I was very embarrassed, of course, but for him, not for me. The challenge was to figure out how to refocus his attention on my lab notebook without offending him. What I did not grasp till years later was that a man who treats a student that way may not be genuinely interested in her lab notes.
And therein lay the problem. Most of us, including those who were affected, had trouble seeing these barriers as they happened. Fortunately Mary Rowe and the MIT administration did understand the implications of this behavior in the workplace, and they set about to change it. You can actually look up the term sexual harassment in Wikipedia and read about MIT and Mary's role in this.
Meanwhile, activist lawyers like the great Catherine MacKinnon, a lawyer from Michigan, established in court that sexual harassment constituted illegal gender discrimination under Title 79 of the Civil Rights Act because it made it impossible for women to be equal in the workplace. Today, federal law requires every workplace to post a set of rules to prevent sexual harassment, or risk being sued.
MIT recruited professor Jay Keyser to develop these rules and implement their enforcement. From start to finish, it took Mary and Jay and the MIT administration about 30 years to all but eliminate sexual harassment from classrooms and workplaces. And this time frame is absolutely typical for most workplace barriers that women have encountered for 30 years. And by the way, even after the problem is solved, or 98% solved, you don't repeal the law and throw away the rule book. You have to continue to enforce the rules indefinitely.
So you don't suppose that sexual harassment could possibly have driven some young women from the science and engineering academic pipeline, do you? I think it's reasonable to add it to the list. Okay.
So what happened to the women after they graduated from college and went on to graduate school? The answer was dearth of mentoring. When I was a graduate student, I had never heard of formal mentoring programs at Harvard, and I assumed it was because mentoring just happened as a matter of course when students looked like the faculty, or, in the case of some women like me, when the women were lucky enough to find fabulous male mentors.
Mine was Jim Watson, the co-discoverer, with Francis Crick, of the structure of DNA, and a far more hands-off mentor.
Without Jim's support, I very much doubt I could have become a scientist. But it turned out that many women students were not as lucky, and formal mentoring programs had to be devised and implemented. Incidentally this evening, you can experience the life of a female math graduate student at MIT in the 1980s in the play by [? Joyita ?] Carey. [? Joyita ?] was a summa math graduate from Berkeley who came to graduate school here, leaked out of the pipeline, and became an actress and playwright. Math's loss, theater's gain.
Do you suppose that lacking a mentor who encourages you to become a scientist and helps you to do so could possibly have anything to do with women leaving the academic pipeline? I suspect so. Put it on the list. And by the way, although women at the leading edge of these waves were the first to encounter these obstacles in significant numbers, they didn't leave them behind as they advanced to the next stage of their careers. They accumulated them. The barriers were cumulative.
Well, if you were a young woman who was lucky enough not to be derailed by sexual harassment, and you found a powerful male mentor who pushed you along, were you home free? No. During the transition from getting a PhD to joining the faculty was when young women were likely to encounter what I thought when I was young was the only barrier to women's advancement in science-- the family work problem.
When I was a student and a postdoc at Harvard, I noticed there were almost no women on the science faculty, and I thought I knew why. It seemed obvious. I could see that high level science, the only type I was interested in, required that you work 70 or more hours a week. The postdocs then were nearly all men. Many already were married with wives who stayed home to care for their children. How could you possibly be the kind of scientist I aspired to be and be a mother?
I found a simple solution to the problem. After obtaining my PhD and doing a postdoc, I got divorced. Just to be on the safe side, I decided not to remarry and not to have children. So much for that problem.
Now that many of you have become experts in identifying invisible gender-related obstacles to women rising to the top, you have doubtless divined that what most of us saw then as a woman's choice to have children, or not to have children for many of us, was not really much of a choice at all. Institutions in which high level science was done were gendered. Men and women had different assigned roles. The men were expected to work night and day and support the family, the women to abandon their jobs and work full-time at home to support the man at work. And that was the system in the '50s, '60s, '70s, '80s, '90s. In fact, we still grapple with the residue of this system today, even though it long ago ceased to reflect or serve the reality of young people's lives.
Did women or men really have a choice? Certainly not an equal choice. It didn't occur to many of us that this was a barrier that someone should remove on our behalf. I thought it was a biological reality, thus a woman's choice. So daunting was this particular obstacle that for decades, women in my generation instinctively knew that at work they should never talk about pregnancy or children for fear that people might think that they were not serious about science. You wanted to be sure that people knew you were happy to be a part of science, and in fact, personally, I was.
But the question of whether having to decide to have children or not contributed to the leaky pipeline is really a rhetorical question. We know that it did, and we know it still does. And studies by Marianne Mason and Mark [? Wooden ?] at Berkeley have confirmed that having children causes women to leak from the academic pipeline preferentially. So this barrier certainly belongs on the list.
Well, enough. Is that it? Were there any more barriers for women who wanted to be part of this fabulous world of science and engineering that was so welcoming, who weren't derailed by sexual harassment, who were lucky enough to find great mentors, who were willing to forgo having children?
There was one more, and it took many of us 20 years on the faculty to understand it. And I'll tell this story from a personal point of view, because I was involved with other women faculty at MIT in identifying and addressing this particular obstacle.
So the final barrier I like to call it-- I'd like to hope it is. Like many women of my generation, I joined the MIT faculty in 1973 believing that the Civil Rights Act and affirmative action laws and the women's movement had eliminated gender discrimination. I certainly did not expect to experience it. I fled from feminists. I just wanted to be seen as a scientist.
But over the next 15 years, I learned I was wrong. Gender discrimination still existed. I figured it out at first by watching how other women were treated. What I saw was that when a man and a woman made scientific discoveries of equal importance, neither the discovery, nor the woman, which was her discovery, or that woman was valued equally to the man and his discovery. Sometimes the woman got no credit at all. She could be invisible.
These observations, as you can imagine, were almost impossible to believe. Science is a merit-based occupation. So how could this be true? But after many years of watching through the '70s, '80s, and into the '90s, how women faculty's scientific contributions were treated relative to men's, I was certain that women in science were undervalued.
Amazingly, it took me 20 years to know it was even true of me, not just other women. That, I believe, is called denial. The realization of this strange truth was very, very demoralizing. Sometimes I wanted to quit science. Alas, I couldn't afford to. I came to feel that my life had been a failure. I had cheerfully given up a lot to join a profession I have truly loved, but I came to realize I would never be accepted in it no matter what I discovered, whereas I believed I was the only person on Earth aware of this strange truth. And you couldn't tell anybody, because who would believe you?
Plus they would assume, as I always had, that if you complained of bias it must mean you weren't good enough. If you were really good enough, if you discovered the structure of DNA, for example, they would have to give you the Nobel Prize and you would be accepted as equal, right? Alas, as I finally realized, if you were a woman, you could make a Nobel Prize-level discovery and quite possibly not win the Nobel Prize, or even be viewed as having done critically important work.
In time, it dawned on me that this strange truth I had discovered might be the most important scientific discovery I had ever made. It was so important it deserved a Nobel Prize in itself. What I did not know and would not learn for another decade was that the discovery I had made so painstakingly over 20 years had already been made. Furthermore, in 2002, a Nobel Prize was awarded for version of this discovery.
What I had discovered, unbeknownst to myself, was the psychology of unconscious bias. It was psychologists, not biologists, who had discovered the phenomenon the '70s and '80s by a series of remarkable experiments. Their research demonstrated the irrationality of the human brain to make accurate judgments and to see truths that contradict our unconscious biases and beliefs. In the case of gender bias, the result of unconscious bias is to judge identical accomplishment as less good if we think it was done by a woman. For a related finding involving irrational decisions, the 2000 Nobel Prize in economics went to the psychologist Kahneman.
As for unconscious gender bias, which is this slight overvaluation of work done by a man, slightly undervalued work done by a woman. Another very surprising thing about it is the belief that women are less good than men persists whether the judges are men or women. Both undervalue identical work when it was done by a woman.
There are enormous consequences to unconscious bias in the workplace obviously. It can affect many aspects of the job-- how the person is treated, their compensation, whether they're hired in the first place. Here's a typical example of the effect of unconscious bias from my era that relates to teaching. When I was a young professor, a colleague asked me if I would like to co-teach an important undergraduate core course with him. I agreed. He said he would ask the chairman for his approval. A few days later, my colleague returned to say the chairman had said no, because although he thought I was a very good teacher, he knew that MIT undergraduates would not be able to believe scientific information spoken by a woman.
I knew instantly the chair was right, and I was extremely grateful to him for sparing me from a potential disaster. But what I find very odd today is that this knowledge did not open our eyes to the serious consequences of the unconscious undervaluation of women's competence in so many of their academic duties. I shrugged it off as simply the way the world was, and I happily continued to teach the undergraduate lab course taught almost exclusively about women faculty in that era.
Do you think unconscious gender bias and the undervaluation of women's work could contribute to the leaky pipeline? Or, the failure to hire women unless novel efforts are made to see beyond our unconscious tendency to undervalue their accomplishments? I think that's a no-brainer. So I'm putting it right on the list.
Alas, I did not know about the psychology research. Meanwhile, I'd come to the end of my line. I was struggling to do research I was very excited about. And despite being a tenured professor, could not get minimal space and resources I needed and that I knew were available to my male colleagues. I decided to take my case up through the MIT administration until I found somebody who would listen.
But happily along the way, I must have the courage to tell a female colleague what I had learned. I chose Mary-Lou Pardue, a biologist I admired for her wisdom and her extraordinary scientific accomplishments. To my utter amazement, she had discovered the same thing I had. We looked at each other and said, you don't suppose there could be others, do you?
With our colleague Lisa Steiner, we had inventoried the tenured women faculty in the six departments of science so we could ask them, and we made the startling discovery that in 1994 they were only 15 tenured women, 197 tenured men. I said, this is impossible. It's 30 years after the Civil Rights Act. Check the back of the catalog. Maybe they list the women separately, do you think?
We found two women in engineering with joined appointments in science, and we added them to the list. The small number made it very easy to poll them, and quickly 16-17 women signed a letter to Bob Birgeneau, then the Dean of Science, informing him there was a systemic, largely invisible, and almost certainly unconscious bias against women faculty. We asked him to convene a committee to document the problem so he could fix it.
The committee was formed essentially secretly since, like me, these women scientists did not want to be seen as feminists. The committee interviewed all the tenured and most of the other tenured women faculty and collected data. We found that as women progress through their careers from junior faculty to tenured professors, they were gradually marginalized, excluded from access to resources and professional activities, rewards, and compensations that make MIT such a superb and envied environment in which to do science.
This exclusion rendered the women's jobs more difficult and less gratifying. The women, of course, also noted their tiny number on the faculty, just 8%. They suggested that the negative experiences many of them had might even contribute to these small numbers of women, since female students often told them, I don't want to be like you. As one woman remarked, who could blame them? Neither do I. The word that came to summarize the women's experiences was marginalization, and this is certainly a major factor.
In response to this report, then dean of science Bob Birgeneau immediately corrected many inequities and recruited a few women faculty to administrative roles in science. Importantly, he also said, the answer to this problem is more women. Birgeneau quickly identified top women scientists around the country, and he went to get them. And this explains the second rise in the curve.
Let's see. Okay, here we go. This rise there is the direct result of Bob Birgeneau's response to the report of the women in science. We call that the Birgeneau bump. The original women in science were absolutely thrilled. They returned to their labs. The committee continued to function under Molly Potter's leadership, which was a very important thing.
But there was more to come. The story of what happened several years later has been told many times, including in a book commemorating MIT's 150th anniversary in a chapter by Professor Lotte Bailyn, who chaired the MIT faculty in 1999. Lotte asked us to write a summary of our committee's findings for the MIT faculty newsletter. Somehow the story ran on the front page of the Boston Globe and the New York Times.
The reaction from outside MIT overwhelmed us. We were inundated with email from women across the country, saying they too had experienced the same problems of marginalization exclusion inequity and no one in their institution would listen to them. I believe there are two reasons the MIT report in 1999 had such an impact, besides the fact that it clearly articulated the apparently near universal workplace issues for women.
The most important was that Charles Vest, the president of MIT, had read the women's report, believed it was true, and decided to endorse it publicly at a time when most institutions denied and suppressed similar claims by their women faculty. To accompany the newsletter article, Vest wrote, "I've always believed contemporary gender discrimination within universities is part reality and perception. True, but I now understand that reality is by far the greater part of the balance." This was truly an MIT moment of decision.
The second reason the report received so much attention, I believe, was because of the scientific stature of the women who had documented this kind of invisible discrimination. Here is a picture of the 16 tenured women in science who wrote to Bob Birgeneau in 1994. And most of them are still here at MIT. Several have moved on to head other institutes. One is an Obama appointee.
These women are, as Susan pointed out, extraordinary scientists. And here is a slide that shows just a few of the accomplishments of those original 16 women who set off this issue. Three of them have won the US National Medal of Science, and nearly 70% are members of the National Academy of Sciences. When someone complains of discrimination, it's often assumed or said they really aren't good enough, but no one can say that about these women without looking downright silly.
Incidentally, many of these women were high in the 70s as a result of the Schultz regs. So how did MIT address the problems of the 1999 report? After all this publicity, in a way, they were on the hot seat to find solutions to the problems the women discovered. The first thing I did was to replicate the study in the other schools of MIT. And in particular for this occasion, in the School of Engineering, professor Lorna Gibson chaired a committee that obtained very similar results to those in science.
The dean of engineering at the time, Tom Magnanti, quickly stepped in to fix inequities and hire more women by devising truly innovative recruiting methods and search procedures. But how do you fix all these issues in the long-term and embed solutions in the policies and practices and culture of the institution so the problems just don't come right back? And these are not trivial problems. There were no women faculty in the academic administration. There was unequal distribution of resources and rewards, family-work conflict for junior faculty was keeping people from even joining faculties, small number of women faculty, the marginalization, undervaluation-- these are not trivial problems.
MIT's approach was to appoint women who had worked on this issue into the central administration to work with the powerful administrators-- the president, the provost, and deans-- with the authority to write new policies for family leave, to track equity for women faculty, to monitor fairness in hiring, and so forth. As the next slide shows, the white boxes are the existing MIT administration and its structure, from president, provost, five deans, the department heads under that, and the other boxes around them are the committees and so forth that were set up under the Vest administration to grapple with this issue. In particular, I was appointed to co-chair with the provost. So I sat on the academic council. That was a committee that the provost could have direct input into this issue.
This slide shows some of the people that were part of President Vest's team at the time to take on this work-- wonderful Provost Bob Brown, and Raphael Bras was the head of the faculty at the time and me and most of these others. Some of the accomplishments of three new family leave policies led by Lotte Bailyn engaging the whole community, a new daycare center smack in the middle of campus so babies wander everywhere now, recruit women to the administration, make sure department heads are inclusive of women, check equity annually.
But we knew it would take longer than one administration to remedy these things. What would happen in the transition from Vest's administration to Hockfield's, particularly in recruiting, since faculty turns over every 35 years and you have to track hiring for decades. The answer is the process not only continued, it was expanded and strengthened under Susan Hockfield's leadership. So this is team Hockfield. Barbara Liskov was appointed to a new position, a powerful position of associate provost, to work with Rafael Reif on these issues. And deans Kastner and Subra Suresh appointed Barnhart and Sive to work with them as associate deans, and this has been enormously effective.
The next slide shows some of the accomplishments. They say these are positions that were created-- educating department heads about searches, increasingly proactive heads and faculty. And if I could say one thing that to me has meant the most, I would say it was the engagement now of so many proactive department heads and faculty. And I think the existence of this symposium, the fact that a male department head of physics proposed it, that MIT selected it, is in itself a reflection of the extraordinary accomplishments of the Hockfield administration, its commitment to women, and the partnership that was established under these two administrations of the women faculty and the administration.
So thank you to all involved. And how is the impact of all this? Well, here we see another jump in the curve. That's the Kastner-Sive jump. This is the number of women in science at MIT today, now up to 19%, more than the percent of women in the United States Senate. And of course, you do, after three such clear affirmative efforts, ask, as always, has quality suffered? And I hope everybody knows the answer to that by now. Of course not.
Here is today the number of women in the School of Science who are full professors who are members of the National Academy. And I don't mean to imply for a second that the women are better than the men, not at all. These numbers are too small to be significantly different. All I'm trying to say is that men and women hired at MIT are extraordinary, all of them.
So what about engineering? Again, the work of Barbara Liskov and Rafael Reif, and Dean Subra Suresh, and so forth, total faculty has gone from 10% to 16% since 2002. Again, maintaining standards, do we even have to ask?
So today there are many more women in the MIT administration versus zero when we began. There are more than twice as many women faculty as in the mid '90s. Equity is reviewed on a continuous basis. It's become routine for women faculty to take family leave, have children, get tenure. And have these changes made MIT a more welcoming environment for women faculty science and engineers than a dozen years ago? So in honor of this symposium, as you know, I decided to find out by interviewing all the women faculty in science and engineering in three groups-- the women who had participated in these studies a decade ago, more than a decade ago in the original study, women who received tenure after those studies were done, and junior women faculty at MIT today in science and engineering.
And the results are summarized in that report that was issued last week, and that you have in your hands today-- new report. So drum roll, drum roll, please.
The results I find to be a remarkable, really, really remarkable change. First of all, older women, my generation, are perhaps the most impressed because we have seen such dramatic change. But probably the best news of all, of course, is that so many of the women who came after us are so happy at MIT and feel very privileged and excited to work here. So here are some representative quotes from the report.
If you look at the women of my generation, we just look at each other, "Who would've thought it possible in our lifetime?" We're very happy about these amazing changes. Tenured women faculty-- "MIT has given me a platform for recognition." "This has been a fabulous place to work." "MIT is not warm and fuzzy, but enabling." I love that. Junior women faculty-- "This is a place full of energy and a great place to be junior."
So is everything fixed? Well, I hope I've convinced you that would not be possible, because as you know, it takes 30 years to remove one of these barriers that have hindered women's advancement and years of monitoring after that, and MIT is only 12 to 15 years into this effort of correcting the problems identified in the reports of '99 and 2002. So we would expect the efforts would need to continue for at least 15 years. And indeed, problems persist, which is why MIT's accomplishment is cause for celebration, but with caveats.
So what are the problems that remain that we learned about from this recent study? Some lesser versions of old problems. For example, today many core courses in science are taught by women hugely successfully, however, young women say they sometimes see that students respect male faculty more than female faculty. And I'm sure they're right.
Some new problems arising from changes in society, for example, the two-career problem didn't really exist in my generation. Women followed their husbands, and whatever happened happened. And some are problems that actually arise from the solutions themselves.
So as my last topic I'd like to just address one problem that emerged from the interviews in all three groups of women faculty. Indeed, we've heard this from our female postdocs, graduate students, and even undergraduates. It's a fascinating problem which I believe reflects the problem that underlies much of what I've been talking about. The issue is the perception that when women advance, they must have done so to some sort of unfair advantage or a lowering of the standards-- when they were hired, when they got tenure, when they won prizes-- and the negative impact this false perception can have on women's confidence.
I hope you'll agree from my talk there are two kinds of affirmative action. One was designed decades ago to increase diversity by temporarily lowering requirements for certain schools and jobs. That kind of affirmative action is actually illegal now. Furthermore, it never existed in faculty recruitment at MIT, except possibly in the era when only men could be hired. Instead, as I showed, a second type of affirmative action was needed, first to end the prohibition against hiring women, and then to recruit exceptional female candidates.
But why does it take special different effort to hire women if they're just as good as men? Why doesn't it just happen on its own? Because first, there are fewer women in the pipeline. So it's more work to find them. Second, we may overlook women since we can undervalue them even when they are as good or better than male candidates. And their letters of recommendation can also be impacted by unconscious bias. Third, because for a variety of reasons, women may not apply unless they are asked.
Why does it bother women to have people insinuate they were hired due to affirmative action, and does it matter? This is one study we don't have to do. The psychologists, again, have already done it ahead of us. It turns out, tell a man he was hired due to affirmative action and he says, so what? I'm the best person for the job. Tell a woman the same thing and you can seriously undermine her confidence. Why is there this difference?
Because, psychologists believe, both men and women suffer the unconscious bias that women really are less good than men. So hinting that women were hired because of affirmative effort reinforces this unfounded, unconscious, and destructive bias. But why would anyone believe that women who get tenure at MIT are less good than men, particularly when the data so clearly show it isn't true? Where does this insidious belief come from?
To answer a question that difficult, you have to go up the river to Harvard and ask that brilliant economist, university administrator, and my good friend, Larry Summers.
His hypothesis that women have less intrinsic aptitude for science and math and engineering fields was a stunning public declination of where this problem comes from. It comes from us and from the society around us. There is not one shred of credible scientific evidence that any group of people is intrinsically genetically inferior in any intellectual activity required for science and engineering, least of all women, and not for lack of research to find it. This is not a scientific belief really, but a bias. I think it is not unreasonable to ask whether promulgating a belief in the genetic inferiority of women, or any group, in schools or workplaces should, like sexual harassment, be illegal under Title VII and Title IX of the Civil Rights Act since it creates and reinforces an unequal playing field.
Would this whole problem disappear if MIT stopped its conscious institutional efforts to recruit exceptional women and stopped talking about it? Absolutely not. Bias would still be present, unconsciously influencing judgments. The only defense is to keep putting it on the table and deal with it, as the new report on women faculty wisely did. It's the unfounded unconscious by itself that needs to change. Men's and women's undervaluation of women, and women's undervaluation of themselves is perhaps the very last barrier to overcome.
And we know we have to keep attacking it, because even freshmen women today ask us-- How should I deal with male classmates who tell me I only got into MIT because of affirmative action? These young women tell us this attitude began when they were in high school. Clearly our job will not be done until society sees women's equal academic achievements as equal. The biased view of women contributes to the leaking pipeline, even before students come to college, especially in the physical sciences and math.
How will we know when we've succeeded? When 50% of Congress is women for starters. Having seen so much progress at MIT in just a dozen years, I now know this is going to happen, maybe in my lifetime.
In closing, I hope you'll agree that we understand quite well the leaky pipeline and the under-representation of women at the top of science and engineering fields. And we know too how scientists and engineers can lead by example in the solution of what is, in truth, a very broad societal issue. Thank you very, very much.
BERTSCHINGER: Nancy Hopkins will be happy to take questions. Please come to the microphones that are placed at the front of each of the aisles, and I will alternate the questions to her.
AUDIENCE: That was wonderful. And I really admire you immensely, and I really appreciate this overview, and I do think there's still a lot of problems. And one thing that was missing-- and I speak out for total self-interest-- on your chart is postdocs. And I have encountered the exact same things still on this day in a lab in which I'm the only woman at MIT. And the difference between me and a faculty member is I can't even find a cohort, because I've just got my lab.
And essentially, I feel I have been treated very differently and held to very bizarre standards-- really, truly bizarre standards. And I can't say it's because I'm a woman, but I do suspect it does have something to do with it. And I have very much felt like, how can I complain? It just is a sign I'm not good enough. Thank you.
HOPKINS: Yes. Therein lies the problem. I think as Lotte Bailyn talked-- social change is so uneven. And so the whole of it can be advancing, but there are pockets that are as if they are 20-30 years ago. And that's one of the things that makes it very painful. I find that I encounter them myself still, and when they happen, I can get so angry. I think, don't these people know things have moved on? No. It's a very uneven process.
The solution to it has been, I believe, to find others in a network who can agree. It's being alone that makes so really, really awful. And that was what my mistake was in not finding other women. And it doesn't have to be exactly in your field or in your department, but broader.
But postdocs is something that the administration is seriously working on. And Ed might want to comment on it, because this is a very major, major issue. They are a group that's kind of fallen through the cracks. There is more help for undergraduate and graduate students, and faculty now and postdocs have sort of lagged.
BERTSCHINGER: I'll mention a little bit about the perspectives and challenges faced by postdocs in my concluding remarks, since particularly the work-family balance is a big issue for our young postdocs and faculty. Over here, please.
AUDIENCE: I wonder if you have done any research on multicultural bias.
HOPKINS: I haven't.
AUDIENCE: I did when I was here. One of my research projects was of serving multicultural children in the school system for a whole year. And I was like a kid everyday filming them. One of the things that I learned was that some of the problems that you alluded to, such as the equality between men and women, really starts out as children.
And I have a piece of film that I would love to show you, where-- these are second graders, and one Italian boy takes the credit away seven times with seven different excuses from a Vietnamese girl, and she never stands up.
HOPKINS: I think this is an issue which has been grappled with a lot at MIT. I'm just not the right person to answer the question. I think it's a very fascinating, complicated thing. I hope you'll send me an email and come by.
AUDIENCE: I'm just curious if you could comment on this assumption, I think, that's made in a lot of these discussions, especially vis a vis work-life balance, the assumption that we're still talking about women who are in conventional, nuclear, or heterosexual families.
HOPKINS: I see. Are we? I mean, you can be in many kinds of families and have the children-career problem it seems to me. I'm not sure. Would somebody else like to comment on that? It's a very good point, and maybe we should be more clearer about the diversity of families if that's what you're referring to. You're absolutely right, and perhaps I haven't made that clear enough. Good point.
AUDIENCE: Hi, I just wanted to say thank you. To my name is Helee, and I coordinate the Women's and Gender Studies program here. And I'm very curious, do you consider yourself a feminist now?
Not only that, but I have to apologize to those feminists who made it possible for all of us to be here.
AUDIENCE: I'm Jenny McFarland, class of '78 and postdoc in the early '90s. And many people here, actually Lotte and Nancy and Millie Dresselhaus, participated. When we were here we started a-- short-lived probably, as postdocs are transient-- women postdoctoral association. I don't know if you remember, but you guys were amazing for us.
But I do want to speak again to the postdoctoral situation and that transient nature. And the other piece I think is critical, because I did to a certain extent leave a pipe-- I've been teaching, for the last 15 years, science at community colleges. And that's where diversity lies, both GLBT, gender, race, national origin, language. And that transition, I was talking to undergraduates at the University of Washington, that invisibleness that they are afraid to say they're transfer students. And by and large, these are women and people of color. So just another thing to kind of put on the table and think about.
But I welcome the effort to make that incredibly vulnerable and transient population of postdocs more public. And I think starting organizations of women and postdocs is really important, but it takes institutional leadership to keep that going, because they're a very busy and transient group. Thank you.
BERTSCHINGER: Maybe I will just add here my thanks to Provost Rafael Reif for his efforts to assess the status of postdocs. There's a survey that was completed recently about the postdoctoral experience. And a group of faculty are reviewing that, and we'll be examining possible recommendations we can make to improve the quality of life for postdocs.
The issues that you raise and the broader issues of multiculturalism are incredibly important on campus. There's a lot of energy devoted to them. And perhaps in the later sessions, we'll hear more about this at MIT and elsewhere.
AUDIENCE: Have you tracked at all the women from MIT who have gotten their doctorates here, what they are doing? I know I spent seven years on this campus, only three semesters getting a master's. And my girlfriends who got their doctors in engineering have had tremendous difficulties that I, as a lonely master's student, have never had. Just work-wise where their standards were-- they were so focused on what they could do and where they could go, whereas with a master's I felt I could go anywhere and do anything.
And the difference-- I also spent eight years at Stanford University-- is I felt that the Stanford graduates, my friends there were not having the same struggles at the MIT woman had. It may be anecdotal.
HOPKINS: Excuse me?
AUDIENCE: It may be just anecdotal, but I was at Stanford for eight years, and the woman who got their doctorates there seemed to be faring much better than the woman who got their doctorates from MIT. This is purely anecdotal. I'm comparing 10 women to 10 women. But I'm wondering if we are tracking where the women who have received doctorates, where they are and what they're doing. And I'm 45 now. So that's the generation I'm in.
HOPKINS: Again, I think this is-- I remember actually Chuck Fiske telling me, we got to go find out what happened to all those women who didn't stay around. And I couldn't figure out how to do that study. It seemed impossibly hard. But I think departments now do work very hard to try to find the answers to this. I don't have them, and they're certainly done on a national scale too, and I don't have the answers.
I'll mention about what you say about Stanford. One thing we found is that when people are young they don't think there is a problem. They think it was solved in some previous generation. Different women encounter it at different ages. To some extent, I have a feeling the people who figure all this out early on, they are the ones who go. Those of us who couldn't see what was happening were the lucky ones really, and we just kept on going assuming there was no problem.
But many young people, I think, don't see the problem at the time it's happening, and this is part of what makes the process so slow. They don't think there's a problem. So they think, oh, that was old women in that old generation. It won't happen to me. But I do agree, it's sort of anecdotal, and you really need to follow through, because Stanford has also put a huge effort into addressing this problem for women in science and engineering, I think with very successful results also.
WAITZ: Welcome. I will be introducing the speakers for the next session. I'd first like to thank Professor Hopkins for an inspiring keynote address. I really thought it was terrific. It caused me to think a little bit about my own view of that trajectory that you showed. So I've had the opportunity to see that through the eyes of someone else, because my wife is a faculty member here at MIT in civil and environmental engineering. So I've, over the last 15 or 20 years, gotten to get a healthy dose of her views about all of this.
And I think the most tangible piece of data for me is that our first daughter was born 12 years ago, just had her birthday. And at that time, my wife was a year or a year and a half before tenure, and there were no automatic leave policies beyond those specified by Massachusetts law at the time. And certainly no automatic extension of a tenure clock. And our second daughter was born nine years ago, and by that time we had family leave policies in place, and shortly thereafter an automatic extension of the tenure clock.
So it impresses upon me how much progress has been made, but also how recent a lot of the progress has been, and how much progress we have still to go. So thank you for just a really terrific keynote.
So it's my great honor and pleasure to introduce our speakers today-- Dr. Shirley Ann Jackson and Dr. Charles Vest. I'll start with Dr. Jackson, and she will make remarks, and then I will introduce Dr. Vest, and then they'll both be here to answer your questions.
So Dr. Jackson is President of Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute. She received her bachelor's and PhD from MIT in '68 and 1973. She's been a researcher at Fermilab, CERN, AT&T Bell Labs, a faculty member at Rutgers, where she has conducted research in theoretical physics, solid state and quantum physics, and optical physics. She served as chairman of the US Nuclear Regulatory Commission from 1995 to 1998, and then President of RPI since 1999.
She's the holder of 45 honorary degrees, a member of at least a dozen professional and honor societies, many, many major awards, including in 2008, the American Society Mechanical Engineers Ralph Coats Roe Medal, in 2007 the Vannevar Bush award from the National Science Foundation, among many others.
She was appointed by President Barack Obama to the President's Council of Advisors on Science and Technology in 2009. She chairs the New York Stock Exchange regulation board, serves on the Board of Regents of the Smithsonian Institution. She is a member of the board of the Council on Foreign Relations, a trustee of the Brookings Institution, and the university vice chairman of the US Council on Competitiveness, to name just a short list from amongst a much longer list of service roles that she has. She was described by Time Magazine in 2005 as perhaps the ultimate role model for women in science. Dr. Jackson.
JACKSON: Thank you. Thank you, Dr. Waitz, for that kind introduction, and good morning. It is always a pleasure for me to return to Cambridge, particularly when the event offers an opportunity for me to interact directly with MIT students and faculty, especially at a time in its history when it is being led by a neuroscientist who happens to be a woman, one focused on the key role of science and technology in solving national and global challenges. Equally pleasurable is the opportunity to share this podium with my esteemed mentor and friend, Dr. Charles Vest.
As an alumna and a life member in fact of the MIT Corporation, and as president of Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, I naturally am concerned with the situation of women in science and engineering careers, particularly careers in research-intensive universities. Now, the groundbreaking work conducted at MIT that resulted in the 1999 report, a study on the status of women faculty in science at MIT, was not the first attempt to understand the special challenges faced by female faculty, but it raised the profile of such studies and importantly laid the groundwork for self-scrutiny at many other institutions.
In fact, since then, the National Academies-- and I'm not going to say what Chuck will say-- but the National Academies have studied the problem on a national scale, releasing two major publications. The first, Beyond Bias and Barriers-- Fulfilling the Potential of Women in Academic Science and Engineering in 2007, and Gender Differences at Critical Transitions in the Careers of Science, Engineering, and Mathematics Faculty in 2010.
A quote from the just released MIT report, in fact, one used by Nancy Hopkins in her fabulous and important keynote, seems to be an appropriate starting point for my remarks, and that is-- "This is a celebration with caveats." If one looks at the numbers, the progress in opportunities, awards, and enabling mechanisms for women is encouraging. These are satisfying intellectually, and they point to objective accomplishments.
Reading quotes from the faculty who are involved touches the heart and may provide the most compelling evidence of change. Because for most of MIT's history, I doubt that any woman would have said, and I quote, "This has been a fabulous place to work."
And yet, in spite of the great progress here, I cannot help but be disappointed by how limited in many ways the progress has been nationally. After 10 years-- 10 years from the time, roughly, that MIT riveted attention on these issues, we are still a long way from gender equity in science and engineering.
Now in the 1999 MIT report, professor Lotte Bailyn said, and I quote, "Gender discrimination in the 1990s is subtle, but pervasive, and stems largely from unconscious ways of thinking." That is what she said, and it is interesting what Nancy Hopkins had to say this morning about it.
But I would argue that the challenge of the 1990s is still a challenge today-- not knowing, not understanding, and not intending does not get us off the hook. We are still responsible for bias that puts obstacles in front of talented and capable people. This is both a moral problem, because of course we value justice, but importantly it is a practical problem, because we as a society are denying ourselves the insights, the ingenuity, and the expertise of competent, talented people at a time, again, when we face immense global challenges.
The response to the 1999 MIT report was immediate, with broad press coverage and a deluge of emails, phone calls, and letters. MIT woke people up. A direct outcome of the report was seen in the initiation of investigations across other schools at MIT. In addition, the so-called group of nine, a group of nine elite universities-- in case you don't know, Berkeley, Caltech, Harvard, MIT, Princeton, Stanford, Michigan, Penn, and Yale. The group of nine, so-called group of nine, came together and the gender equity project was created.
Six of these institutions completed their own studies that paralleled the MIT approach. Their findings on gender equity showed similar patterns of under-representation and bias. But beyond recognizing the issue of gender equity and revealing it in compelling terms, MIT also put, as you know, the report recommendations into effect and shared these as best practices.
The policies that emerged were research-based, not assumption-based. The result is that changes have occurred across much of academia, because greater efforts are made to recruit women. Women are invited onto key influential committees. The tenure clock has been made more flexible at some universities.
So with respect to external success, women have demonstrated that they have the ability and drive to succeed in science and engineering. And there is no question that participation by women in academic science and engineering careers has grown in recent years.
What is more-- women who apply for faculty positions in mathematics, science, and engineering at major research universities now are hired as often as, and sometimes more than, men. And of those considered for tenure, women are beginning to receive tenure at the same and, in some fields, higher rates than men.
However, the 2010 Gender Differences Report found that women continue to be underrepresented among academic faculty relative to the number who receive science and engineering degrees, and they are not applying for tenure track jobs at research-intensive universities at the same rate at which they are earning doctorates. For example, while women received 45% of the PhDs in biology awarded by research-intensive universities between 1999 and 2003, they represented only 26% of applicants to tenure track positions at these universities. And women also spent a significantly longer time as assistant professors.
But the problem is not limited to the United States. The need for engineers and scientists is growing throughout the Western hemisphere. Germany expects to have a shortfall of 200,000 engineers by 2017, and Great Britain will need more than half a million skilled workers. But only 18% of tenured professors in 27 countries of the European Union are women.
In a March 2010 New York Times article, Katrin Bennhold observed that, and I quote, "In the 21st century, perhaps more than ever before, there will be a premium on scientific and technological knowledge. Science, in effect, will be the last frontier for the women's movement. With humanity poised to tackle pressing challenges from climate change, to complex illness, to the fallout from the digital revolution, shortages of people with the right skill sets loom in many countries. Therein lies both opportunity and risk for women. In the years to come, the people who master the sciences will change the world and most likely command the big paychecks." And that is what she said.
Now, this is a rosy view, but how do we get there? What we are learning is that we do not still understand the problem fully. Despite aggressive steps taken by universities to promote faculty diversity, under-representation of women at all faculty levels persists. And strategies such as targeted advertising and targeted recruiting have not proven entirely effective.
A difficulty has to do with perhaps bridging to the next level. Now, interestingly, a study by Cornell University researchers found that efforts such as gender sensitivity workshops to prevent discrimination are not particularly effective, because women do not in fact-- and this is the Cornell result-- face discrimination in hiring, interviewing, or grant and manuscript reviewing at the university level.
This study suggested that the major culprit was timing, that women find it extremely difficult to earn tenure and to raise children at the same time. Ironically, research reveals that parenthood has a positive effect on men's success in academic careers, while mothers who sacrifice work for parenting are seen as neglecting their jobs. Fathers who make the same choice are admired and rewarded.
Writing for the New York Times, Steven Greenhouse noted that based on a University of California Berkeley study, Keeping Women in the Science Pipeline, women are for more likely than men, as you've heard anyway, to leak out of the research science pipeline before obtaining tenure at a college or university. After receiving a doctorate, married women with young children, in fact, are 35% less likely to enter a tenure track position in science than our married men with young children and PhDs in science.
According to the report from the University of California, and this is a quote, "Women who had children after becoming postdoctoral scholars were twice as likely as their male counterparts to shift their career goals away from being professors with a research emphasis, a 41% shift for women versus 20% for men." And a 2005 report from Virginia Tech found a disproportionate share of women make up voluntary departures from the faculty, because although women represented one-fifth of the faculty, they accounted for two-fifths of the departures.
At every step along the way, from entering college as a science or engineering major, to graduating with a technical degree, from entering graduate school, to exiting successfully, to getting a postdoc, to succeeding as faculty, to attaining tenure, we need to provide women with bridges to the next level. Now, as is clear from the studies I mentioned, the unequal burden of family life turns the gaps in the road into chasms.
Help with childcare, which clearly has been provided at MIT, and the establishment of parental childbirth leave, which has been provided at Rensselaer, coupled with leaves with support for graduate students who have children, can help. But there is more to be done.
Studies show that while female faculty may not feel discriminated against, they do still more often feel isolated and marginalized in their professional lives than their male counterparts. The Gender Differences Report found that women who had a mentor did better than women without one. In fact, investigators found, for example, that in chemistry, female assistant professors with mentors had a 95% probability of securing grant funding compared to 77% for those without mentors.
Recognizing the importance of mentoring, the National Science Foundation provides grants through a program called ADVANCE, which stands for increasing the participation and advancement of women in academic science and engineering careers. A program funded by ADVANCE at Rensselaer is called RAMP-UP, which is our shorthand for Reforming Advancement Processes through University Professions. RAMP-UP's advancement reforms are intended to benefit the tenure track faculty at Rensselaer with a special emphasis on women, particularly minority women as well in NSF-funded disciplines. Our activities are designed to impact individual faculty, departments, schools, and the university as a whole.
At the level of the individual, RAMP-UP initiatives include communication and networking through colloquies, workshops, and retreats, as well as grants through career campaign awards to help women get over the hump, as it were. At the level of the department, RAMP-UP initiatives include training for department heads as well as grants for cultural change initiatives. At the level of the school, RAMP-UP initiatives include the appointment and activities of faculty coaches, who serve as information resources and participants in the school's advancement processes. And at the level of the university, RAMP-UP initiatives include intervention on behalf of individual faculty, fairness in promotion and tenure reviews, and a senior pipeline search.
Now, in the end, when a woman comes up for tenure the decision is strictly made on the basis of what she has accomplished. But the point is to not have a leaky pipeline along the way. And so the program provides vital help, but there is still unfinished business.
And so let me point out a few things that I see on the horizon that, in fact, may create new challenges or maybe repackage challenges. The first is the shifting context for measurement. To begin, for those who are on the vanguard of gender equity, a subtle problem may in fact emerge-- competition. Because as gender equity becomes more valued by our culture, the measure may somewhat decline in influence, because the pool of applicants will have more options. Now, the answer, of course, is to increase the pool of applicants, which in no way has been exhausted. However, we will need to look closely to distinguish declines based on a failure to execute versus changes in demand.
Another concern reflected in the report is that family and gender issues are still viewed as women's issues. Now, MIT has embraced gender issues as an institutional challenge. But beyond the campus of MIT, these issues are still perceived as the province of women. Now, this is unfortunate for a couple of key reasons. It automatically lowers the priority of gender equity, putting it into a box often unexamined by others that is a special interest on the part of part of the population, not all of the population.
It excludes as well the talent the insight the effort and the wisdom of men. And so it makes solutions to gender equity more vulnerable to criticism and dismissal, because engagement is an essential element of social change. And the more distant a directive or direction is from those who must participate in its implementation, the less chance that it will be well-executed.
Another challenge we may see will be renewed resistance, and new and creative reactions from those who feel threatened by gender equity, or those who struggle with the changes it produces, particularly at a time when people are worried about their economic security overall. Interestingly, earlier this month, the US Civil Rights Commission decided to abandon an investigation into whether colleges are discriminating against women in admissions.
But this is not just a matter of our society perhaps stepping backwards. The world changes. And if we focus only on what we have seen before, we may miss what will matter for the next generation. So let me offer a few examples.
First, there is one area of engineering that has achieved equity essentially. Do you know what it is? Well, the number of men and women majoring in biomedical engineering is close to even. And guess what, the salary for biomedical engineers is flat or going down. Veronica Arreola, director of the Women in Science and Engineering program at the University of Illinois at Chicago, has been quoted as saying, "Engineering fields where women are less than 20% pay more." So this, what some call pink collar discrimination, is something to watch out for. But where does it come from?
The MIT report mentions a concern that standards drop as women move toward equity in fields. Is the value provided by women being questioned? Other studies show that women's pay drops because of perhaps the double-bind of negotiations. If women do not negotiate aggressively, they may lower the price for their field's expertise. If they do negotiate aggressively, especially in academia, they are not considered to be collegial and may be denied promotion or tenure. Now, I negotiate aggressively, but--
Another factor-- and I'm always one who's always willing to walk off the cliff-- is, in fact, the uncertain impact of internationalization and multiculturalism. Here's another factor to consider. In 2009, about half of all PhDs in physics, math, and computer science went to non-US students. And 55% of engineering doctorates went to the foreign-born. Now, I think that's a good thing. It says we attract great talent. But what impact may this have on our hopes for gender equity?
An optimistic person might suspect that our efforts to make science and engineering more welcoming in the US would create a stampede of young women from other nations, but this may not be the case. A 2006 University of Virginia study of graduate students in computer science found essentially no difference in the percent of women between US and international students. The report concludes, and I quote, "Increasing international students in US programs is not likely to improve the gender balance in computing. To accomplish that goal, we will have to attract more women regardless of their citizenship." That is the quote.
So as we seek to import people of talent and vision from abroad, we also must grapple with traditions and cultural references that may make it more difficult for the equal status of women to be gained and accepted. And attitudes that threaten the as yet insufficient gains we have seen may not be limited to just male scientists and engineers from developing countries, which is what people default to in their thinking.
In Sweden, women are awarded 44% of biomedical PhDs, yet account for 25% of post-doctorates, and only 7% of professorial positions. A major study in 1997 of the peer review system of the Swedish Medical Research Council showed that a woman at that time had to be two and a half times more productive than a man to be considered equally competent. Now, to be sure and to be fair, in some countries women have made great strides in participation in science and engineering, and in assuming leadership positions in these fields.
Now let me talk about a new area-- social networks. Have you ever thought about that and what effect that might have? Now, as we have seen in the sweeping changes across the Middle East and North Africa, social networks have had a significant influence. In fact, a number of women have been engaged in helping to drive change, and have participated in social media, which have helped to enable change.
But interestingly enough, a report in January that Wikipedia is authored by men 85% of the time is quite interesting, especially since, for all of its obvious limitations, Wikipedia, it turns out, is used as a source of information by 48% of American adults. And so an argument is raging about whether the encyclopedia that quote, "anyone can edit," unquote, possibly is skewed in favor of men. Or, is it a choice where women just opt out of it?
Now, we already know that social networks are becoming integral to the education of our students. And they may be key, and likely will be, to how the next generation will be introduced to science and engineering and how they will build relationships and careers. And therefore, as we continue to work toward gender equity, we cannot neglect actually what happens in social networks. And as a university president, I'm not clear that we really understand social network communities, the effect on cognition and learning, social development, bias development.
And so actually at Rensselaer, we have a research center focused on social and cognitive networks that is sponsored by the US Army. And it is interesting in this regard. Why? Well, the center is studying the technology of such networks, but also studying how constituency groups form in such networks, how adversary groups form, how trust is developed, how truth and rumor are sorted out, and what cultural influences and nuances are at work.
But why is gender equity important? And it is important beyond academia. If the United States is to maintain its scientific and engineering leadership in the 21st century and to contribute to helping to solve global challenges, it must have the full creative and entrepreneurial participation of all of its people, and must continue as well to tap talent from abroad. But as long as women face barriers that inhibit their success in research-intensive universities, the nation will be deprived of this vital source of talent, whether drawn domestically or globally. Our national and global future and social stability will be at risk.
High profile events such as this symposium are critically important to identify and eliminate these barriers to full participation of women in science and technology. Now, I will add that past experience shows that efforts toward fairness often provide broad benefits. One obvious advantage to gender equity is that gender equity provides experience and models for developing more equitable systems for people who are shut out because of race, because of different learning modalities, disabilities, and other differences from the majority that currently holds leadership positions in science and engineering.
On a more basic level, new perspectives and insights pour into fields when the doors crack open, allowing personal lives to flourish together with professional lives through flexible tenure clocks, parental child care leave, recognition that spouses have careers, and initiatives that encourage work-life balance make the workplace more humane. And it helps to develop our scientists and engineers as whole people, more engaged with families and communities. Moreover, understanding and addressing cultural differences as we work through the issues only enhances our ability to tap the complete talent pool.
We miss much by excluding people of talent. And it is difficult to imagine our commitment to environmental stewardship without the awareness generated long ago by marine biologist and author Rachel Carson. The chief champion of the Orphan Drug Act was Abby Meyers, whose lobbying began when she could no longer get an experimental drug that was helping her son who has Tourette's syndrome.
And you've heard this morning about Barbara McClintock. Barbara McClintock developed her theory of transposable elements, so-called jumping genes, in the 1940s. She said it was met with puzzlement, even hostility. She stopped publishing her data in 1953. And it was years and years later that her genius was recognized, because she won the 1983 Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine. So one wonders what might have been accomplished for as much as she did accomplish if her work had been accepted earlier.
So the key message is this. Through commitment to gender equity, we identify, prepare, and enable the people who can uncover new knowledge and who can meet our national and global challenges. Some of the answers are in the MIT study, but I hope that we will continue to broaden our exploration of the issues.
And as we do, I hope we will come to better understand the shifting landscape of equity measurement, the corrosive effect of defining family and gender issues as women's issues, the new face of resistance to equity, the risks of pink collar exploitation, the uncertain impact of internationalization and multiculturalism on the progress of women in science and engineering, because women of multicultural backgrounds are the invisible women in science, and of course the emerging role of social networks and their potential impact on women in science and engineering, their participation in the conversation and in the endeavor.
Thank you very much. I look forward to your questions and observations.
WAITZ: Wow. Terrific, just a terrific talk. As I noted, I will now introduce our next speaker, and then both Dr. Jackson and Dr. Vest will stay on stage to entertain questions. So Dr. Charles Vest is the president of the National Academy of Engineering and well-known to almost all of us here, but I will share a little bit about his history and some of his honors.
He got his bachelors at West Virginia University, a master's and PhD at the University of Michigan, and joined the faculty there in 1968, where he taught in the areas of heat transfer, thermodynamics, and fluid mechanics, and conducted research on heat transfer and engineering applications of laser optics and holography. He became Dean of Engineering at the University of Michigan in 1986 and served in that role for three years, and then briefly as Provost and Vice President of Academic Affairs before joining MIT as President in 1990, a position he held until 2004. And he's been president of the National Academy of Engineering since 2007.
He's a member of many different professional and honor societies, a holder of 14 honorary degrees, a recipient of many, many different awards, including, in 2006, the National Medal of Technology. Like Dr. Jackson, he has a very active service role, including Secretary of Commerce's National Advisory Council on Innovation and Entrepreneurship, Department of State Secretary's Advisory Committee on Transformational Diplomacy, and for presidents George Bush and Bill Clinton, service on the Committee on Advisors on Science and Technology.
Professor Hopkins shared the quote from Dr. Vest. I'll share it again. That was in the preface with the release of the 1999 report. He said, "I've always believed that contemporary gender discrimination within universities is part reality and part perception. True, but I now understand that reality is by far the greater part of the balance."
Chuck's candor and his openness set the highest standards with that report. They led the San Francisco Chronicle, among many others at the time, to speculate that the study and Chuck's willingness to admit discrimination together would serve as a catalyst for colleges and universities throughout the country to seriously re-evaluate treatment of women faculty members. And I believe the report and Chuck's leadership at the time have done so. Please join me in welcoming Charles Vest.
VEST: Thank you very much, Ian. It is just wonderful to be back here at MIT, and particularly to be here today to celebrate what we are celebrating. And before I begin, I just want to say that I hope everybody here understands what a privilege it was to hear Nancy Hopkins talk this morning. This was a tour de force that few people are privileged to ever hear on any particular topic.
Now, I worried a lot about what I can bring to this. I can certainly not bring either the moral authority nor the depth of analysis that my good friend and colleague Shirley Jackson just brought to the topic. So I will do what I was actually asked to do, which is bring a little bit of personal view to what happened here in the years that we've heard about today, and what I think it all means. But I know I will be playing at least third fiddle, and probably before this is all over, something lower than that.
So we are here to celebrate something today, and I think this something has to do with the question-- Are we looking at a double helix, or are we engaged in a race to the top? Because if you look at the percentage of women in our schools of science and engineering, you see this curve. And the good news is, of course, those of us at MIT always relish competition, I hope in the right sense of the word. So I hope these blue and orange dots keep going toward the top, because anything on a topic like this moves toward the upper-right-hand corner is at least going in the right direction.
So just a year ago we met a rather amazing milestone. A report came out indicating that the number of women receiving PhDs in US universities now exceeded the number of men, something that should not be too surprising given that more than 50% of university students in the United States are women. But as we know, this is an interesting milestone for those of us in science and engineering, but I don't think we can relax. We just have to be not quite so fast. Because, as you've heard in many ways already this morning, this is a journey that must continue.
And so the theme, of course, of this colloquium was to both look back to 1999 and to stand here in 2011 and look forward. Now, you have heard today about the 1999 headline, and I'm sure many of you remember it very well in the New York Times-- MIT Admits Discrimination Against Female Professors.
Well, I think we are here today to celebrate the fact that we have made great advances against what was delineated in that headline, and of course in the article below it, and the articles that appeared across the nation in obviously The Boston Globe, but then all the way to the west coast, and particularly the editorial that Ian just referred to in the San Francisco Chronicle.
But just a week ago, I picked up my New York Times, not having been forewarned, and saw this title, this headline-- Gains and Drawbacks for Female Professors-- At MIT, a Sense of Unfair Advantage. And of course, this headline I think does fairly represent the content of the wonderful report that has just been published. It says great things have happened, life has improved, but we still have many more things that we have to deal with.
And the report and the article do bring out the fact that while numbers have improved, while leadership has improved remarkably in its inclusion of women and others, the fact is that people are now-- particularly young women faculty and students-- are continuing to bear what some of us older folks might think of as second or third order problems. But if you are the person experiencing them, second or third order statistically means nothing. It's your problem. And so as we have heard, we still have things to do.
So let's look back at a little bit of history that I hope is ancient, although I guess that makes me ancient, but still things we have to think about. Now, I'm going to give this talk not surprisingly by the one criterion I'm qualified for, and that is as a white male who grew up and experienced his career during the period of time, or most of the period of time, at least, that was outlined in Nancy's talk this morning.
And I believe that most of us who cared about these issues, or at least thought we cared about them, had a very simple assumption. If we simply fill the pipeline at the undergraduate level with more women and more underrepresented minority students, then all we have to do is stand back and watch their careers progress the same way ours did. And pretty soon the problem will be solved.
But the reality, of course, is somewhat different. And this is exactly the same curve that has already been shown today, but let me just review it again. This is MIT data, and it shows something very clear, namely that if you fill the pipeline, and even if you run the percentage of your undergraduates up to approaching 50%, it did not happen that the number of PhD students, the number of faculty kind of immediately followed. They've gone along sort of parallel tracks, but it's got a long, long dwell time in it, and the national statistics are even worse.
And if we look at the issue which is not the core issue today, but it's one that we must all be thinking about, of other groups underrepresented in our student body, and especially in our faculties, you see that the situation is even more daunting. Now, the problem is if this had just been MIT, then people would have said, well, that's just MIT. But the fact is the curves for every major school with strong programs in science and engineering, and most others as well, looked pretty much the same.
In fact, today, the now famous headlines that came out in The Boston Globe and then the New York Times-- I got an email from one of my colleagues who shall go unnamed today outside of MIT, and he said to me, only MIT could get great credit for telling what a lousy job they've been doing. But the point is it was much deeper than that, as we know.
Now, as Dr. Jackson said, we have to look at a lot of things. And among them, we have to look at our undergraduate education. And now these are national data. This is from a study that just came out from the Department of Commerce a couple of weeks ago, having to do very broadly with the status of women in America. And this simply compares 1998 and 2008, just about the same time frame that we are focused on in this symposium. And it shows the bachelor degree fields of all women across US colleges and universities.
And you will see that yes, there has been a dramatic increase, but there is still a huge difference in the sheer numbers of women studying in fields of engineering and fields of science. Biological sciences doing a little better than the physical sciences, as you can see, but still, the gap between the number of young people coming into science and into engineering is really troubling.
And here are a couple of curves I put together for this meeting that I've actually never seen anywhere else before, as simple as they are, and it asks the following question. Not only what fraction of our bachelor's degrees in the United States are in fields of science and engineering, but how many young men and women come into these fields intending to major in science or engineering? And how does that compare with the number who actually graduate at the bachelor level?
And first I'm going to look across natural sciences, which includes, I believe, in these data the life sciences, the physical sciences, including chemistry, includes mathematics and so forth. And here's what you have for science and the difference between men and women. And you'll see that 13% or so of the women freshmen in the United States are planning to earn a bachelor's degree in some field of science, and just about the same percentage of men.
But there is a very noticeable difference in the number who actually graduate in these fields. And you see that only 9% of the women end up getting degrees in science. And interestingly, more men actually graduate in the natural sciences than intended to measure to begin with. I don't understand the fine structure here. Some may be coming over from engineering. Who knows? But anyway, these are still pretty low numbers.
Now, I learned a few years ago that we tend to collect data, particularly regarding higher education, by saying science and engineering. And if you're an MIT person, you think that's one word-- science and engineering. I hope that will always be the case, but it isn't. And the statistics are very different for the two fields.
Here are the equivalent curves for engineering across the United States. And you will see that both men and women, half of them do not graduate even though they intended to. And those of you who are engineering educators here know what this means. It means we are not doing our jobs. And this has tremendous import for the future workforce in the United States.
But what I really want to focus on here is the number up here-- women graduating. What this is telling us is that of all the women who graduate from US universities, 1.6% are engineers. This is not a number that can sustain our society, our nation going into the future. We really have our work cut out for us in both science and engineering, but we have some particular issues in engineering.
So the problem that we have most immediately, and that's what we're gathered here to talk about today, though, is really at the top of the pipeline-- the things that happen at the PhD, postdoc, faculty level. And I just wanted to offer, as I said at the beginning, a few personal observations about some of my journey on this topic.
I grew up in a small college town in West Virginia. My father was a mathematics professor. I actually lived at home, went to college there. It was the cheapest way to get an education. I'm actually proud of the education I got at West Virginia University.
But if we go back a little bit further, West Virginia is truly a border state. I went to segregated schools. This is ancient history now. I went to segregated schools until I was in middle school. And at that point, the schools were racially integrated a couple of years ahead of the Supreme Court decision, something we've always been proud of.
But despite that, when I look back, I realize that my first science teacher was an African-American. My physics teacher in high school was a woman. When I went on to university and graduate school, my closest friend all through graduate school was from India. My thesis advisor was from Turkey. By the way, as an undergraduate at West Virginia University, I had a female professor in engineering mechanics, and I had two female professors in mathematics. Pretty astounding when you stop to think of it. And one of those mathematicians, by the way, and Nancy and others who really knows the history, was one of Emmy Noether's PhD students, very famous person.
So anyway, when I look backward I realize that this kind of diversity that I had been exposed to had a lot to do with maybe preparing me for things that happened later. I had most of my teaching career at the University of Michigan. I was actually there 27 years all altogether as a graduate student and faculty member and administrator. And I will tell you in 1968 and up through the '70s, when I was an assistant professor and beginning to build my career, if I had an African-American student in class-- and I taught some pretty big classes-- once every two or three years, that was pretty amazing. And if I had more than two or three women in a given class, that was astounding.
And also, I could have told you the day I walked into that class these women will be in the top 5 or 10 students, because the only women who were doing this were really committed and extraordinary people. So when I wake up today for all the problems that we still face and recognize that at MIT, virtually 50% of our undergraduates are women, that we have a woman president, that the President of the United States is an African-American, things are getting better. Now, that doesn't mean relax, but they do get better.
Well, I want to just publicly thank Nancy Hopkins and the Women's Committee today. I was so blessed that their study occurred at the time I had the honor of serving as President of MIT, because I really believe Nancy handed me on a pillow an amazing opportunity to, first of all, help accomplish something of national and global import, and secondly to move, if I'm honest with myself, from probably being part of the problem to being at least a little part of the solution. And I think that's what she and her colleagues did for all of us. And I just can't say that strongly enough or with enough gratitude.
Now, the group of nine as they came to be called have already been mentioned. But with a bit of seeding of great ideas by Lotte Bailyn and others, we did decide to invite nine schools with particularly strong science and engineering programs to sit down together, bringing groups of men and women from each institution, including the president in most cases, and the provost and the deans engaged. And we had a really quite remarkable day, and we left that with all the presidents signing a statement that they would return to their campuses and they would produce or enable a study similar to that which was done here at MIT.
And I will tell you, it was not easy getting nine signatures on that piece of paper, not because of any ill will, but I have to tell you, the thought in several of the private universities that they would have to make available to whatever this committee turned out to be salary data almost stopped the whole thing in its tracks. And every story has an unsung hero here and there. And one person I really want to pay homage to today was Harold Shapiro, who at that time was the president of Princeton. And I will tell you, while I was twisting the right arm, Harold was twisting the left arm. He played a very major role in getting people to step back and say this is important. We have to do it.
And I also should have said a little bit more about the impact of the email and so forth that came after the Hopkins report was made public on the web and then through the papers. And I'm sure I got only a fraction of what Nancy got, but we were getting like 100 emails a day. And they all said the same thing. They said, this is my story. This was my story. First it came from universities. Then they started coming from industry. Then they came from around the world. And I think for Nancy they're still coming.
Well, I'm not going to walk all through this, but there are a couple of things I wanted to say. I'm going to make the case that numbers are important. This was about numbers. It was about quantitative metrics. It's about measurement. I was so excited to see, because I hadn't known before last night, Nancy's tape measure in the MIT museum. Please go see it. It deserves to be there.
And when I received the report-- and you all have to recognize that virtually nobody's seen the actual report. You've all seen the public version, but in order to gather the data at the level that Nancy and her committees-- there are actually two-- gathered, they obviously told people that they would not be recognized, that certain of these measurements would not appear public, and so forth. But the quantitative nature, being MIT, really struck home. But I will tell you simultaneously it is not all about numbers.
And one of the things that sticks in my mind more than any other from this period was a day before the report was released when we were discussing it. There were probably four, five, six women faculty sitting around the coffee table in the president's office, and we were discussing next steps and what the report said. And a couple of the women said to me, well, the good news is the junior faculty are happy campers. That was a term she used. They're happy campers. They feel well-treated, their salaries are strong, they're getting the support they need, they're really glad they're here.
But before the conversation moved on, one of the more senior women looked across the table and said, I felt that way when I was their age too. And I have to tell you, that hit me in the solar plexus and just all of a sudden just amplified all the things I'd been hearing, and made me recognize how complex this is and how different women and men were, in fact, experiencing MIT.
Well, I hate to tell you, I'm going to refer to it again. But what I'm going to tell you is what you don't know about this, which is that MIT in that period, and probably still today, we did a whole lot of our work by email. And I was late in my study at the president's house one night, and we were discussing that the sort of public summary was going to be released on the web through the faculty newsletter the next day or two. And I was asked if I would write a couple of introductory comments, and I said of course.
And I just sat down and wrote out what really came to my mind and pushed the button, and this was it. Now, what you don't know is that I rather quickly got an email back from Lotte Bailyn saying, well, Chuck, this is nice, but don't you think you ought to say a little bit more about what we're going to do about this? So I wrote the second paragraph, which is not here, and sent it. Lotte had a lot to do with this entire thing.
But the resonance to this was just amazing. And the second lesson I learned from this, or the second point I want to make, is that I learned if you simply tell the truth in a simple declarative sentence, people think you've done something radical and revolutionary. Believe me, I am not the first person who ever-- first male-- whoever learned this. But if you just tell the truth, sometimes things have a way of resonating and following.
Well, I'm not going to go through all this, because you know what these numbers represent. But this is basically what happened to the number of women in serious administrative positions in the schools of science and engineering after that. These are the numbers of women on the faculty that you have already seen today. The group of nine, I've mentioned a little bit.
And I want to close with a little look at some of the national data from today. We do have to pay attention to the supply, and you'll hear the same theme again here. Science and engineering, the production of women PhDs has grown up to 45% across all schools of all quality levels and so forth. But again, if you break this down in terms of discipline, you see a somewhat different picture. And you see that the life sciences have kind of rocketed, and the physical sciences and engineering are still much, much lower. And we do have to understand that we do have to pay attention to it, particularly given the comment that was made earlier about the fact that even today, the number of faculty nationally are not following, even in the life sciences, that curve that runs up close to 50%.
Similarly, women faculty members all across the United States in all colleges and universities in the natural sciences and engineering look something like this, having grown from under 5% in 1973 to about 20% a few years ago. I assume it's crossed that curve now. But again, if you break things down, life sciences, physical sciences, and engineering, you find certain ones of us have even more work to do than others.
And finally, I want to say that numbers really do matter. This is sort of an odd curve, but somehow it means something to me. I simply took the ratio in each of several years of the fraction of PhDs in the field that were granted to women, and found the ratio to that of the number of faculty appointments, the number of junior faculty in these fields. So this has a little noise in the data, the time lag's not right and so forth. But what it really does show you is that there is a direct relationship between the number of young women, or the percentage of young women, earning PhDs in various fields that does translate to some extent into the number of junior faculty.
Now, we were talking a little bit during the coffee break, and I made the statement that one of the other reasons that numbers matter are that you really have to achieve a critical mass before the culture starts to change. And that, by the way, dominated all the Q&A today I believe thus far. A lot of these changes are cultural. We first work on what we can measure, and then we have to change the culture. And I believe that happens when you get enough-- in this case-- women into the system.
And so I'm going to not finish all my slides, but I want to end with just one little story here. And MIT led the drafting of an amicus brief for the famous University of Michigan Supreme Court case that upheld the Bochy decision that allows us to consider, in this case, race as one of many factors in making admission decisions. And we put together an amicus brief with Stanford University, with IBM, and Dupont, with the National Academy of Sciences, the National Academy of Engineering, and a group some of you may know called NACME, the National Council on the Advancement of Minorities in Engineering.
And I am told by people who really know what went on in this case that it was actually the second-most influential amicus brief. The first, of course, was the one signed by all the former military leaders who said this country's got to go in this direction. But anyway, because of my interest, I actually sat down and read the transcript of the hearing before the Supreme Court. Now, I'd never done this before, and I always had this image that you have this deep erudite conversation. It sounds like a bunch of people sitting around drinking beer and arguing. It's really interesting.
And in the middle of the hearing, the solicitor general goes after Michigan's attorney. And he says, all right, how will you know when you've gotten there? How will you know when you succeed? How many minority kids do you need to have-- in this case it was in law school-- How many minority kids do you have to have in law class? And the guy said, I don't know. We have to achieve a critical mass. Well, what fraction of it? And like all good attorneys, he asked the same question 25 times in different ways trying to back Michigan's attorney into saying we've got a quota system, which we didn't. And all he would say was we have to build a critical mass.
And all of a sudden Sandra Day O'Connor intervenes and she says, I know what a critical mass is. When I went to Stanford Law School, there were two of us women. Any question that was asked, we had to give the women's perspective. When that stops happening, you're at a critical mass. And the Supreme Court decision actually turned on that statement. And so in the same way, I think we need to keep striving for a critical mass. And I have a feeling that even though it's not a number or a percentage, we'll kind of know when we get there. Thank you very much.
WAITZ: Thank you very much. Again, just a super, super talk. We do have about 15 minutes for questions. So I will ask those who have questions to come to the mics that are down front.
AUDIENCE: Yes. Thank you both for your excellent and amazing talks. I teach at a primarily undergraduate school, and I see these students coming in with no background in math or science, or very little background, or very little interest. So it seems to me, even looking at the undergraduate time, we've got to attack it way before that. And I wonder if you could both comment on that.
VEST: Well, we have finite time. And I think all of us recognize that educationally, the deepest problem in this country has is its primary and secondary, and perhaps we should even say before primary and secondary education. For far too many kids it's a disaster zone. And for the life of me, I believe that we know what the problem is. I think we know what the solution is. And I say that because there are so many good examples of high-functioning schools in the public sector in the United States, that all we really have to do is replicate them.
And of course, we do have an awful lot of inequity and cultural problems in our society, but I think we know what to do. But for the life of me, I don't know how we gather the political will. And I don't know, Shirley, what you think, but I more and more think that the real issue is we've got to make everybody in Congress, everybody across the country, go sit down and watch Waiting for Superman, and do a few other things like this to get their attention. Because the rest of the world is not sitting back and waiting. And I will tell you, we are facing a huge competitive challenge. But if we just had a blank sheet of paper today, rather than focusing on the high end, I think we would have headed to that beginning.
JACKSON: There are three things that I would say. I think we have to worry about a baseline-- a baseline of education background and competency in math and science for everybody. And if we don't do that, then what we end up doing is sifting through and picking the few gems we can find. And that's not going to get us to where we need to be.
The second is I agree with Chuck. I think we have to have a national dialogue, and somehow have the conversation with our leaders, political leaders. But I think the business community and the higher education community have to weigh in to this, because we are the-- not at MIT, not at Rensselaer, but in general, we're the recipients of the products that come out of the K-12 educational system.
But the third is this. A lot of what happens with public education in this country happens at the state and local levels. And so whatever public policies we seek to-- or whatever change we seek to bring has to be rooted in policies that can engage governors and others in the states to break the logjam. And that is why I have liked what the president has done with the Race to the Top, because it has provided incentives for school systems, for states to begin to make changes. But the question is one of sustainability in terms of bringing about these sorts of changes.
VEST: Always one to seek out the threat of optimism in there, I would point out that one of the big problems has been because of this local control and state control, we've been unable to agree on national standards in science and math education. But the good news is that the voluntary standards out there have now actually been signed on by over 40 governors from 40 states. So a little bit like OpenCourseWare, if you put things out there and they're clearly good, you can get more people behind them.
JACKSON: And the National Governors Association actually has embraced this, and that's important.
AUDIENCE: Thank you both. Both of you had very interesting different talks. I also used to teach in a small school college and met many underprepared students. And I'll just give my opinion that if you want a lot of better-prepared math students in at least this commonwealth, you will pay your math teachers more. Because anybody good in math can walk out and get a job, and they are not going to put up with the conditions we have for-- I'm not talking about me. I'm talking about the people who taught my kids. But by college it's often too late.
What I want to ask-- I'm so grateful, Mr. Vest, that you distinguish the engineers from the biologists, because I'm an engineer. And when I was in grad school-- it was a long time ago-- the woman before me who got a PhD was five years before me. So I had no female cohort. I don't know how much that mattered, but it's not that much fun. What was the kiss of death was ending up getting engaged to a faculty member, because then it was really tainted. Keep away from her. She has a spy.
But what I would-- and I can say, as Doctor Jackson said, that did impact men too, because a friend of mine who is on the faculty got in really hot water because he didn't show up to a summer faculty meeting within a month of having a newborn for the first time, and he was called on the carpet for that. Okay, so I mean, this is the generosity they extend to somebody for family reasons back then.
But what thoughts do you have about increasing the number of women, specifically in engineering? Because personally I don't think we have reached critical mass. Thank you.
VEST: Well, Shirley's pointing to me. Let me say very, very quickly, this is a thing we're trying very hard to work on at the National Academy of Engineering, not surprisingly. And the main thing we have learned is that when you ask young freshmen in university who have good math scores and so forth and so on, why didn't you go into engineering, and especially if you ask young women, why didn't you go into engineering, the answer is always some variant of, because I wanted to go into a field where I could help people and make the world better.
So number one thing is, in a serious way, we are trying-- we're working with the entertainment industry, all kinds of things, to simply try to project the image out there that if we're going to solve the great human challenges of food and water, and climate, and security, and health, we're going to need engineers, and we're going to need engineers who know how to cross boundaries and work with people outside the field. So first of all, I think a part of this is just simply inspiring.
And secondly, we run a website that gets a lot of traffic, but obviously not as much as I would like, two of them actually, called Engineer Girl, and the other one, Engineer Your Life, which allows young girls to actually interact with a huge cadre of volunteer women engineers to talk about their profession, their career, what they do, and so forth. So we have to keep chipping away at it.
But while I don't want to put all of it on this, I really think if we can get the media to help us a little bit on the inspiration piece, we can deal with the rest of it.
JACKSON: I think the other part is-- and Chuck made it a point in his talk-- we kind of moshed things together. Engineering is not science, and science is not medicine. And those sorts of confusions have been out there for a long time. But I think there is an inspirational problem and an aspirational problem in terms of people really being motivated to understand what engineers really do and the contribution they make. And I think the professional societies, aided by the media, are very important in this regard.
WAITZ: Next question.
AUDIENCE: Hi. Actually, I was wondering, since starting at a young age in the United States we aren't focused so much on mathematics and science, many girls are striving to grow up and become actors and actresses because the United States is such a media-based country, while countries such as China and India, who are striving because of the way they're studying and the way their education is based. How do you think we can fix that so that the media isn't affecting girls so much as so they can strive to become actors, but using the media instead so that they can strive to help the country by becoming engineers, or scientists, or mathematicians, et cetera?
JACKSON: Well, cracking the nut of the media is an interesting one. But actually, part of the reason I talked about social networks is that social networks are an alternative pathway which in many ways are controlled by the people who are in them that can create an ability to, in kind of a viral way, penetrate the consciousness of young people in ways that the kind of direct media, the movies and so on, cannot.
We actually have a task force at Rensselaer looking at the role of social media, not just in learning and cognition, but in terms of as an influential medium, because we do have to have some way to reach young people where they are.
VEST: I would just like to add two quick points. Not to focus too much on the NAE, but another thing we're working on is a project called Changing the Conversation, in which we've actually done some serious social scientific looks at how young girls and young boys understand and respond to engineering and science. And we've come up with a few tag lines that we're literally trying to get industry to start building into their advertising so you get kind of a drumbeat.
But I have to tell you, Shirley will know who I'm talking about, but the National Academy of Sciences started something called the Science and Entertainment Exchange. And it met for the second time in Hollywood a few months ago, and I went out. I was privileged to give kind of the opening talk to set the context. You're not allowed to wear your tie and all that bit. And I was standing around beforehand just meeting a few people. I walk up to some guy and say, hi, I'm Chuck Vest. And that's nice. I said, what do you do? And he looked at me and said, I'm one of the Grateful Dead.
And actually, she knows who I'm talking about, and he is really working at building science and mathematics into what he does. So it's going to happen.
WAITZ: Next question please.
AUDIENCE: I want to thank you both very much for your remarks. This is a personal matter that I'm going to mention, not a statistical one. And I don't know that I'm addressing a systemic problem, although perhaps I am. My attention was captured by Doctor Jackson's mentioning of a study of women who voluntarily departed from the faculty at Virginia Tech.
I voluntarily departed from a full professorship at Virginia Tech. I was a full professor of mathematics there, and I voluntarily departed to go pursue a master of fine arts and non-fiction writing at the University of Iowa. I use myself as an illustration of someone who felt constrained by disciplinarity, because I have felt myself to be-- as a whole person, I found my solitary identity as a mathematician constraining.
I'm condensing a huge story into a little nugget. But a moment ago, I heard Dr. Jackson also say sciences is not engineering is not medicine, and I would add is not mathematics. And I wonder to what extent some of what we're discussing is constrained by perceptions of disciplinary boundaries. In particular, the prevalence of women in the biological sciences has been studied a great deal. Women in the biolog-- you see the standard graph-- biological sciences, physical sciences, engineering.
And the perception was mentioned, the perception that I want to help people. And that's why I'm not going into engineering. But I wonder whether this extreme disciplinarity has a constraining influence on people's sense of themselves as whole persons. And I'm just wondering what either of you would have to say about that.
JACKSON: Well, I think many of us recognize that some of the most interesting questions in m some of the most challenging, some of the greatest challenges in engineering, some of the things that will make the greatest impact on society are ones that do not lend themselves to one discipline, and that of necessity they're going to sit at the intersections or come because of the coalescence of knowledge and activity from across a broad spectrum. And so I think that's causing many in many universities to think about how we educate our students.
Now, we don't give interdisciplinary degrees per se, but we do have our students engaged in work that crosses disciplinary boundaries, because we want them to see-- this is the undergraduates-- just what you're talking about. And so I think as we go forward and think about what pedagogy will really be in the 21st century, we're going to have to think about those kinds of things.
Now, I, for one, don't believe that it is a mistake to have an education rooted in a given discipline. The real question becomes what one has the opportunity to do with that education across a broad front, and that what happens in the universities should not be inhibiting. But, as I've met and talked with faculty here, people, while they nominally come from a given discipline, the work they do crosses many boundaries and intersects with those in others. So I think that's where a lot of excitement lies. But Chuck--
VEST: I'll just offer two quick points in addition. And one is that I think a lot of this-- not enough, but a lot of it is generational. And the younger folks coming along, this is just more natural for them to cross. But the other thing is there's a professor at Michigan which has fantastic social sciences named Scott Page. And Scott wrote a book that I don't think got enough attention, but it really impacted me maybe three years ago or so.
He'd actually gone out, mostly in the business world, but in a lot of organizations and answered the following question-- Do diverse teams solve problems better than teams that aren't diverse? And interestingly, I don't think he mentions race or women or anything else. It's kind of a broad definition of diversity which includes interdisciplinary. And I will tell you the answer is so clear that if we're going to find good advances in what we do and find good solutions to problems, we're going to have to cross every boundary we can think of. Now, interestingly, he also finds that it takes longer and it's harder, but the outcome is better.
WAITZ: Thank you. With apologies to those who still have questions, I do want to keep us on our agenda and just ask that you follow up with Doctors Vest and Jackson after we break, which I'm about to do in a moment here. I want to thank you both for just terrific comments, very insightful. I've written a couple pages of notes with ideas here. So please, all, join me in again thanking Doctors Jackson and Vest.