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3 .
In the United States today, women receive nearly 50
percent of the Ph.D. degrees awarded in the life sciences,
but they represent only 25 percent of the applicants for
tenure-track appointments in research. This means that a
significant number of women who receive doctorates in
the life sciences do not pursue careers in academia at the
assistant professor level or beyond. The loss to science
is profound.
Shirley Tilghman—a distinguished molecular biologist, the
first woman president of Princeton University, and a former
Rockefeller University trustee—has brought attention to
what is at stake:
The problems that intrigue women about the
natural world are not always exactly the same as
those that attract men. By encouraging women to
embrace science, we likely increase the range of
problems under study, and this will broaden and
strengthen the entire enterprise.
These words underscore what is lost to biomedical science
when highly trained women do not pursue research
careers: broadened perspectives and new, possibly unique
approaches and solutions to medical problems.
The Rockefeller University began to actively address this
imbalance 20 years ago, at a time when the laboratory
heads at the University were almost without exception male.
Of the few women faculty who led labs, none had tenure.
Why a Program to Support
Women Scientists?
2007
Women
&
Science
Postdoctoral Fellow
Sally Marik is a research associate in the
Laboratory of Neurobiology.