The Status Of Women In Physics In The "Post-Millie" Era

Document Type


Publication Date


Published In

Bulletin Of The American Physical Society


Dramatic progress for women in physics has been made during the years of Millie Dresselhaus’ remarkable career in carbon science. (Some of this progress can be credited to Dresselhaus’ own inspired leadership.) Now, early in the “Post-Millie era”, there is much good news. We no longer experience a leaky pipeline at all career stages, overt discrimination, and tolerance of gender-based harassment. There are double-digit percentages of women on faculties, and hiring and promotion at equitable rates. Our journals, educational institutions and professional societies have responded to research on psychology of gender and to feminist critiques of the culture of physics. There is also some less-good news. The situation of under-represented minorities remains dire. There is also much evidence of pervasive, subtle gender bias with less-than-subtle consequences … small disadvantages tend to accumulate, and diminish ones professional quality of life. What can we expect in the future for women in physics? Are we currently in equilibrium, a steady state, or a turbulent transient? Regardless, it is incumbent on us to insure that gains are retained and progress continues to be made, so some best practices are discussed. These include acknowledging and adopting strategies for eradicating implicit bias; rejecting naïve binaries that hinge on gender identity; implementing curricular reforms which engage and retain under-represented groups; putting a value on inclusive excellence in our classrooms, labs, and departments; maintaining a civil and equitable workplace; and supporting the creation of networks of real and virtual mentors.


APS March Meeting 2018

Conference Dates

March 5-9, 2018

Conference Location

Los Angeles, CA

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