Mentoring schemes, workshops, seminars, e-mail discussion lists, web-sites, travel grants, support groups, family-friendly working hours… The list of initiatives designed to support women scientists and engineers just keeps growing. Numerous individuals, professional societies, companies, and government bodies are investing time and resources in an effort to help women enjoy fulfilling scientific and technical careers. Proponents argue that such projects will greatly benefit materials science and engineering as a whole, by sustaining a workforce with varied skills, experience, and interests.Few women working in materials science and engineering need reminding that they have entered a profession dominated by men. Having sat through science classes in school and college where more seats are occupied by male students, it can be no great surprise to find the situation replicated in many academic and industrial laboratories. Concern that this imbalance is limiting recruitment and retainment of promising female researchers has prompted many organizations to take a long hard look at gender equity issues. As the value of diversity is increasingly recognized, have women materials scientists and engineers ever had it so good?

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DOI: 10.1016/S1369-7021(02)05228-8