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Encouraging women to pursue physics degrees, careers

Narrator:       This is Science Today. Each year only about 1,200 American women graduate with an undergraduate physics degree. But thanks in part to national conferences, the number of women physics majors continuing in the field is increasing. Physics professor Gabriel Orebi Gann of the University of California, Berkeley, says the goal of these conferences is to encourage women in the physical sciences to pursue degrees and careers in the field.  

Orebi Gann:  There's two challenges that we face. One is the choices that the women themselves are making and some of those are going into other fields for perfectly good reasons. Some of it is a lack of confidence or a concern about an aggressive, male-dominated field. And that's a concern that we do need to address.

Narrator:       At UC Berkeley, about 20 percent of undergraduate physics majors are women and the percentage of women entering physics as grad students has risen to 29 percent.

Orebi Gann:  That's a record high for us, but that's still pretty low when you consider those numbers, so we want to show that this is something that they can do and encourage them to pursue it if they're interested.

Narrator:       For Science Today, I'm Larissa Branin.