Women in Neuroscience: The first twenty years

Laurel L. HAAK1, Andrea ZARDETTO-SMITH2, and Russell A. JOHNSON3
1Lab for Molecular and Cellular Neurophysiology, NIH, Bethesda, MD 20892-4095; 2Department of Physical Therapy, Creighton University, Omaha, NE 68178; 3Neuroscience History Archives, Brain Research Institute, UCLA, Los Angeles, CA 90095-1761 USA

Women in Neuroscience (WIN) was created in 1980 during the annual Society for Neuroscience (SFN) meeting. Despite major changes and advances in 'equal opportunities', women were still not achieving a proportionate level of success in neuroscience. In 1980, women made up 40-50% of entering classes in medical schools or graduate programs, but often comprised only 5-15% of leadership in respective organizations. While there had been women elected to serve as SFN Presidents, Council and committee members, women were not well-represented in other positions of the society, such as symposium and session chairs. There was even a lesser degree of representation in leadership positions at universities and medical schools in terms of full professorships, chairs, and program directors, as well as on editorial boards, advancement of women neuroscientists, to facilitate contacts and communication among women working in neuroscience and to organize appropriate activities at the SFN meeting.

In this presentation, we will discuss what role WIN can and should serve in increasing the participation of women in neuroscience. WIN has a long history of activism, from providing travel awards, to hosting symposia and mentoring programs, to providing an arena for women to learn and practice leadership skills. The historical relationship of WIN with SFN and the SFN Committee on the Development of Women's Careers in Neuroscience will be examined. In addition, we will discuss the importance to the field of neuroscience of documenting the role of individual women scientists and organizations such as WIN.


Session VIII -- Later 20th Century: Current Issues
Tuesday, 13 June 2000, 4:00 - 4:30 pm

Fifth Annual Meeting of the International Society for the History of the Neurosciences (ISHN)

Providence, Rhode Island, USA