And it seems that today, March 8 (or yesterday or last week, depending on when you're reading this) is International Women's Day.
Let's look at some data that I found at NSF's website, which I used to make a really great graph for you. Behold:
Figure 1.bloop: STEM PhDs Earned by Human Beings
Do you see what is significant about this graph? I will show you.
But watch what happens to women's representation when you go from STEM PhD-earner, to postdoc, to professor.
And just look at this same information in a radar graph.
Yes, I know. It's completely useless.
Seriously, what are radar graphs good for?
To be honest, I'm not all that worried that women are still underrepresented at the professorial level. With ladies earning PhDs in such awesome numbers, we just need time for these new PhD-carriers to work their way into the system. Keep in mind that a good number of professors are crazy old guys that will retire soon and make way for a more gender-balanced ratio of newcomers.
But what can really inhibit women's progress in science is people's attitudes. I always think of Ben Barres, the scientist who started his career as a women and went through a sex change. As a man, his research was immediately much better-received. Someone even said after one of his talks, "Ben Barres gave a great seminar today, but then his work is much better than his sister's." As an undergraduate at MIT, she (then Barbara Barres) was told when she solved a very difficult math problem, "Your boyfriend must have solved it for you."
But even views like that will slowly die out (in some cases, as the people who hold them actually die themselves).
And sometime soon, women will be equally represented within the STEM fields. Until then, lady professors of the universe, I salute you. You are fighting the good fight, paving the way for the rest of our uterus-toting kind to unlock the secrets of science. Keep being awesome.
And here is my last bit of women's day science statistics, the Facebook "like" stats of Beatrice: 65% of the readers are ladies. Hollah.