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Study finds women underrepresented in some fields

The President's Advisory Committee on Women at the University of Washington (PACW) released their first Report on Women at the UW, which provides a statistical analysis of equal opportunity representation within the University community.

The report, released last week and available online, is a detailed description with percentages of women who work at or attend the UW. The study is divided into six different sections: students, staff, faculty and academic personnel, University administration, athletics and crime.

"We wanted to give a baseline of information on women faculty, staff and students here at the University," said Marcia Killien, chair at PACW and professor in the Department of Family and Child Nursing. "This is the first report we've ever done and we hope to do more in the future to review progress within the University."

The PACW's study covers statistical information on women at the UW for this academic year. PACW was able to receive all its information from the departments and programs within the University to obtain gender demographics. The study also includes gender statistics from UW Bothell and UW Tacoma.

The study notes that women are genuinely equitably represented as compared to men within the University as a whole, although certain departments have an over- or under-representation. In one extreme comparison, women hold 90 percent of the School of Nursing degrees, while women hold only 18 percent of the School of Engineering degrees.

Among the faculty, women comprise only 23 percent of professors and 47 percent of assistant professors. Within the University administration, women are much more underrepresented, occupying only 11 of 106 department chairs and eight of 18 deanships.

PACW has also been working with other organizations that are concerned about the inadequate representation of women within certain fields. Organizations such as the STEM Education Coalition and the National Institutes of Health (NIH) are among the groups that are creating programs and policies to ensure that women are more represented in fields such as science, math and engineering.

"We will be working with various groups on campus this winter, like the Faculty Council for Women in Academia and the Faculty Senate, [as well as] others to discuss issues on women at UW and collaborate on future reports," Killien said.

[Reach reporter Ben Schock at news@thedaily.washington.edu.]

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