9-13 July 2012
Plenary Talk - Widening the net: Attracting and keeping women in physics
Presented by Prof. Diane GRAYSON on 12 Jul 2012 from 12:30 to 13:10
Type: Oral Presentation
Track: Track E - Physics Education
Physics has a smaller percentage of qualified women than almost any other science. And Physics is less attractive as a qualification than many other degree programmes that are perceived to lead to better jobs. In South Africa, the pool of learners who even qualify to major in Physics after high school is very small. So Physics needs women. Women also need Physics, with the high level of intellectual stimulation, useful applications and opportunities for creativity it offers. What prevents more women from entering and staying in Physics? In this talk I will give some of the reasons and discuss what can be done to improve the situation, including challenging stereotypes, modifying curricula and teaching practices, role-modelling and improving the general climate in which physics students and physicists study and work. Findings in the UK and USA show that such climate change is good for both women and men, and can lead to increased job satisfaction and productivity.