Women in Chemistry

By Michael Edmonds 06/11/2011

A recent article in Chemical and Engineering News (October 31st, 2011) has revealed that women make up, on average, 17% of the chemistry faculty in American universities. As this is just an average, there are some universities with a much higher percentage of women on staff, for example, 32% at the University of Puerto Rico.

I thought it would be interesting to compare these figures to New Zealand Universities so have done a “quick and rough” tally of female academics at most of the universities around New Zealand based on the information I could gather from institution websites. The results are as follows:

Canterbury University 30%

Auckland University 23%

Otago University 20%

Victoria University 19% (based on School of Chemical and Physical Sciences, so have included physicists as well)

Waikato University 17%

Massey University 14% (based on Chemistry and Biophysics group)

As different institutions give their staff slightly different titles I have included all lecturers, teaching fellows, research fellows and research directors in these figures. Also I have no Lincoln university figures as their website was difficult to “extract” chemists from.

If anyone from the different institutions wants to recalculate these values based on their insider knowledge feel free to let me know.

While some of these numbers seem low, one only has to look at the many female PhD students and postdoctoral students who are present in chemistry departments around the country to predict that these numbers are likely to increase as time progresses.

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