Published in

De Gruyter, Pure and Applied Chemistry, 0(0), 2023

DOI: 10.1515/pac-2023-0906



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Women in chemistry: remarkable progress, but are we there yet?

Journal article published in 2023 by Marinda Li Wu
Distributing this paper is prohibited by the publisher
Distributing this paper is prohibited by the publisher

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Abstract The chemistry enterprise continues to evolve, becoming increasingly more diverse and inclusive. Likewise, opportunities and roles for women in the chemistry enterprise have evolved. In the late 1800s and early 1900s, women faced tremendous obstacles pursuing a career in chemistry. Through determination, hard work – and with some good fortune – a few pioneering role models were able to overcome challenges. Countless women have followed in their footsteps. For example, the percentage of PhDs in science awarded to women in the United States has quadrupled over the past 50 years to over 30 %. In addition, the frequency of women elected to professional chemical society leadership or awarded a Nobel Laureate in Chemistry has increased significantly over the past 25 years, even accelerating in the last 5–10 years. Yet, the progress is uneven and much remains to be done to reach gender parity. There are major differences across countries in representation by women researchers in science and technology. In addition, there are significant gender gaps in faculty at top global universities in chemistry departments, as well as in governance at the largest publicly traded U.S. chemical companies. Moreover, progress is needed to reach gender equity in U.S. chemist compensation. However, I am optimistic that women will continue to progress and move towards parity. Like previous women leaders of the global chemistry enterprise, tomorrow’s successful women will have the passion, courage, and determination to overcome challenges and achieve the equity and opportunities they deserve.