News Release

Challenges and opportunities for women in physics

More women than ever are pursuing STEM education; why do they remain underrepresented in their fields?

Peer-Reviewed Publication

American Physical Society

Women Supporting Women in STEM

image: A picture of Jill Wenderott and facilitators from TZ (Nelson Mandela African Institution of Science and Technology) when they delivered workshop materials to them in Dec 2019 view more 

Credit: Jill Wenderott

Please Note: The 2020 American Physical Society (APS) March Meeting that was to be held in Denver, Colorado from March 2 through March 6 has been canceled. The decision was made late Saturday (February 29), out of an abundance of caution and based on the latest scientific data available regarding the transmission of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19). See our official release on the cancelation for more details.

DENVER, COLO., FEBRUARY 28, 2020 -- Women in the United States hold fewer than 25% of bachelor's degrees, 20% of doctoral degrees and 19% of faculty positions in physics. At the American Physical Society March Meeting in Denver, scientists will present unique approaches to engage women in science as they pursue their education and throughout every stage of their careers.

"To improve the climate for women in physics, we need to better understand the structural and social barriers women experience in the field," said Anne Marie Porter, survey scientist at the American Institute of Physics' Statistical Research Center. "The physics community should continue addressing these issues to improve conditions for women in the field."

Porter will present data from several surveys to explore the factors that hinder women in their physics careers. She will discuss the hurdles many women face compared to their male counterparts. Porter believes these findings could be used to improve the experience of women in physics to keep bright minds engaged in the field and continue advances within the physics community.

Women Supporting Women

Programs to empower women in STEM both at secondary- and undergraduate-levels aim to open educational pathways and promote career advancement. Jill Wenderott, a postdoctoral researcher in materials science and engineering at Northwestern University, will present the latest outcomes from the Women Supporting Women in the Sciences (WS2) program. WS2 provides professional development workshops that empower Tanzanian women to advance in STEM careers. Wenderott will discuss how the international group created the workshops virtually before training facilitators and the anticipated outcomes and long-term goals of the program.

"By sharing resources [and] connecting with organizations and individuals that can support your mission, your outreach goals can become a reality," said Wenderott. "From creating programming to inspire young girls and boys to choose STEM careers to hosting a lecture series for the public, there are many opportunities to make a difference in your community, be it locally or globally."

The Physics Wonder Girls Program provides a free, immersion summer camp for diverse, high-performing female students in Philadelphia and New Jersey. Roberto Ramos of University of the Sciences will present about the most recent camp experience, where participants learned about solar and wind energy during the Physics Outreach, Education and Society session on March 4. Ramos details how the students built solar cells that power boats and cars and examined model turbines, digital anemometers and a commercial turbine to understand the power of wind as a natural energy resource. Learn more about the program at the Physics Wonder Girls website:


Challenges Facing Women in Physics
TIME/DATE/PLACE: 11:51 AM, Tuesday, March 3, 2020, Room: 607
CONTACT: Anne Marie Porter,

Design and Implementation of Professional Development Workshops that Support Women in STEM inTanzania
TIME/DATE/PLACE: 11:15 AM, Wednesday, March 4, Room: 208
CONTACT: Jill Wenderott,

A Free Renewable Energy-based Physics Day Camp for Middle School Girls
TIME/DATE/PLACE: 11:27 AM, Wednesday, March 4, Room 208
CONTACT: Roberto Ramos

The American Physical Society (APS) March Meeting is a major international conference and the largest physics meeting of the year. In 2020, the APS March Meeting will convene from March 2-6 at the Colorado Convention Center in downtown Denver.

Useful Links
Meeting website:
Scientific program: ing/MAR20/APS_epitome
Press services:
Hotel & Travel information:

Press Registration
Complimentary registration is available to journalists for the express purpose of gathering and reporting news and information from the meeting. Staff reporters, freelance writers, and students are welcome to apply. Press credentials may be obtained by completing the form on this page: The deadline for press registration is Friday February 28th at 3:00 p.m. EST.

Press Conferences
All press conferences will take place in Room 608. If you are unable to attend, you may register to watch and ask questions online at

Press Room
A press room for registered journalists will operate throughout the meeting in Room 610/612 and will offer complimentary coffee, breakfast, and lunch. The press room may be reserved for conducting interviews.

Monday - Thursday, 7:30 a.m. - 6:00 p.m.
Friday, 7:30 a.m. - 2:45 p.m.

Please contact the APS Press Office with any questions at

The American Physical Society is a nonprofit membership organization working to advance and diffuse the knowledge of physics through its outstanding research journals, scientific meetings, and education, outreach, advocacy, and international activities. APS represents over 55,000 members, including physicists in academia, national laboratories, and industry in the United States and throughout the world. Society offices are located in College Park, Maryland (Headquarters), Ridge, New York, and Washington, D.C.

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