In April I asked a group of sixth graders from Beaufort Middle School in North Carolina, "Do I look like a scientist to you?" A young boy sitting in the corner of the room loudly answered, "Uh, yeah. Why not?"
Sadly, while there are countless prolific scientists in the world, female or male, you probably couldn't name ten. In fact, you probably couldn't name five that are alive right now. Even if you could, how many of them would be women?
The paucity of impact-making announcements by female astronomers in general is dreadful. How can it be, that well over a century after the first women received PhDs in astronomy, women have failed to match their male peers in this and other aspects of STEM academia?
Two recent studies shed important empirical light on gender bias in the sciences and should be cause for great scrutiny and reflection by America's universities and colleges. If we are to continue to be preeminent in science and technology, we must engage women fully in that challenge.
Walk through any hospital, and in all probability, the majority of physicians honored on wooden panels will be men. When we think of scientists or physicians, we do not picture in our minds a woman, but instead the stereotypical white male.