Meeting Abstract

S7.7  Thursday, Jan. 6  How scientific societies can include, promote and retain women members SULLIVAN, K.A.*; BAKIAN, A. V.; Utah State University; Utah State University

Since the 1970’s women have made up increasingly large proportions of the graduate students in all fields of organismal biology. Membership records of scientific societies show dramatic growth in student membership among women students but much smaller changes in the gender composition of professional scientists. Where did all of the women graduate students go? Analyses of society membership from the mid 1970’s to the early 2000’s indicate that women disappear from society membership 5-10 years after joining. Although many women received advanced degrees, few transitioned to professional positions in their scientific disciplines. As the competition for professional employment increased, women were more likely to leave science. Women that found professional employment in their field were as likely as men to persist in societies and achieve honorary membership status. Interviews with men and women during the transition from graduate student o professional scientist indicate that women are more likely to partner with a scientist in their field, restrict their job search once partnered and accommodate their partner’s career. Field work and intense competition for professional positions appeared to limit reproductive success in early career scientists. Best practices for scientific societies to include, promote and retain women members will be presented.