Letter from Barbara McClintock to Frank Press, National Academy of Sciences
McClintock advocated increased participation of women scientists in the NAS and NRC.
Item is a photocopy.
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1991-01-14 (January 14, 1991)
National Academy of Sciences (U.S.)
Original Repository: American Philosophical Society. Library. Barbara McClintock Papers
Reproduced with permission of the Barbara McClintock Papers, American Philosophical Society.
Medical Subject Headings (MeSH):
The McClintock Renaissance and the Nobel Prize, 1978-1992
Box Number: 1
Folder Number: 7
Dear Dr. Press:
For the past several years, many of us have made efforts to increase the participation of women scientists in the activities
of the NAS and NRC. Unfortunately, we have had only very modest success. Many NRC committees contain only one woman; many
have none. At Academy programs, the audience of professional men and women generally face a platform of men only. Nowhere
in the NAS do we detect a serious concern for enlarging the participation of women scientists.
We believe that it is now time for you to initiate a bold new start to reverse this situation. Women are currently doing
outstanding science and receiving academic and peer recognition for their achievements. For example, the recently completed
Astronomy and Astrophysics Survey Committee consisted of 15 sub-discipline panels, each of about 20 to 30 astronomers. The
median number of women on each panel was three; one panel had no women and one panel had seven. Yet of the 36 Academy "informal
referees", none were female.
Serving on NAS and NRC committees offers experience and confers status on the participants; these are being denied women scientists.
Additional participation on committees might enhance the likelihood that outstanding women will be elected to the Academy.
Moreover, at present the Academy complex denies itself the contributions of a large number of talented and dedicated individuals.
We look to you to initiate enthusiastic, positive, immediate action to improve the situation, which presently diminishes both
the National Academy of Sciences and the scientific endeavor.