SIDEBAR: Pluses and Minuses for Women Graduate Students in Physics
In 1993, graduate and undergraduate physics students provided information on the educational environment of physics departments nationwide (Curtin et al. 1995).  In addition, physics professionals conducted site visits to find ways to improve the climate for women in physics departments (Dresselhaus et al. 1995).  This project found "that the existing climate for women in physics departments adversely impacts their progress in attaining satisfactory career goals, identified a number of factors that create a poor climate, [and] suggested ways to address them and remove them" (p. 20). Among the problems is women's serious underrepresentation on physics faculties. (See text table 4-1.)
Graduate and undergraduate physics students  reported that only about one-third of the students said their departments encouraged self-confidence, and U.S. women rated them lowest in this area.
- Although over 60 percent of U.S. men reported collegial relationships with their advisors, just over half of U.S. females and male foreigners (and only 39 percent of foreign women) felt they were treated as colleagues.
- About 8 of 10 U.S. physics graduate students would go into the field again; fewer foreign students would do so-6 of 10 women and 7 of 10 men.
- Females are more likely than men to belong to study groups. (Curtin et al. 1995).
- Only about one third of the students said their departments encouraged self-confidence, and U.S. women rated them lowest in this area.
 The American Physical Society and the American Association of Physics Teachers, in collaboration with the American Institute of Physics, sent a questionnaire to 1,955 graduate students in physics. The sample drew from all women studying physics at the postbaccalaureate level (2,042 of them, foreign and 2 of 11 men). The response rate was 60 percent (Curtin et al. 1995).
 Representatives of the American Physical Society and the American Association of Physics Teachers visited 15 campuses (10 of the visits were funded by the NSF) (Dresselhaus et al. 1995).
 Undergraduates were also surveyed, but the researchers found that the results might be unreliable, because of problems with the sample frame and the questionnaire instrument.