Saturday, April 07, 2012

Infographic of the Day

MIT Numbers: Women as Percentage of Total Undergraduates, Graduate Students, and Faculty: 1901–2012


  1. L said...

    For me personally,the steep rise in the 70s is significant...that's my generation of women. What interests me specially is that the data is from the USA. The rise had started there in the 70's and I think the trend had started here in India too around the same time..though the IIX I went to, had 1 girls' hostel and 7 boys' hostels, every batch had some more girls than the previous, and by the 80's, a new girls' hostel had been built.
    In the college I went to, before the IIX, we were about 40% girls (if I remember right) in the Chem Hons course, but the English Hons course was dominated by girls.

  2. Abi said...

    @L: Yes, the steep increase in the 1970s is something that's very noticeable among the MIT faculty too (though not in the figure I posted here).

    Take a look at Fig. 3 in this article by Prof. Nancy Hopkins, the chairperson of the committee whose sharp report in 1996 created a keen awareness in MIT about the status of women there, and led to positive changes. In the accompanying text, she says,

    [Begin Quote]
    ... The curve rises steeply twice: once between 1972-1976 and once between 1997-2000. ...

    I deduce that the first sharp rise in the number of women faculty in Science, beginning in 1972, is the result of pressures associated with the Civil Rights Act and affirmative action regulations. In particular, in 1971 Secretary of Labor George Schultz ordered compliance reviews of hiring policies of women in universities. All institutions receiving federal funding were required to have such plans in effect as of that year. In addition, a group of women faculty and staff worked to persuade MIT to hire more women faculty at this time (M. Potter, personal communication). The second sharp rise, between 1997-2000, directly resulted from Dean Birgeneau’s response to the 1996 Report on Women Faculty.
    [End Quote]

    The pace of these positive changes, however, has not been maintained later.

  3. L said...

    "The pace of these positive changes, however, has not been maintained later" That is surprising and disturbing. This trend cannot not always be pumped by artificial means. By the 21st century, it should be having its own momentum, specially since the mothers of young women entering academia now, must have been the 70s women. Surely they inspired their daughters!