Several studies have shown that women tend to carry a heavier pay load when it comes to community service. This is no different for women in the DPP. The first example is related to the percentage of female chairs at the annual APS DPP meeting. The main reason behind this statistic is that at one DPP meeting there was not a female chair, which statistically speaking should have been an anomaly. As such, women in plasma physics has started keeping a better count and remains the program committee chair each year to have a ‘fair’ balance. This has resulted in a strong increase in women chairing sessions at the annual APS DPP meeting, so much so, that women are now over represented based on statistics. These statistics do not distinguish the type of session the woman is chairing and thus the size of the audience. There is a difference between chairing a session full of invited talks, versus a session of contributed talks.
Even more stark are the female percentages when it comes to community service for the APS DPP and APS in general. While women are on average only 11% of the membership and regular members are only at 8%, the executive committee has in the last 11 years never dropped below 10% and has been above 30% for the last 7 years.
There has been a similar strong increase in females appointed to various APS-DPP appointed committees, such that without included the Women In Plasma Physics Committee, we have have had more than 25% female representation for the last 5 years. This is the result of the fact that most of these appointed committees only have roughly 5 members and that if each of those has a female member, that results in the overall over-representation of women statistically. It also poses a high burden on women, to have a heavier service load than their male colleagues, something which is not something promotion and prize committees value highly.