The APS-DPP is the division with the lowest percentage of female participation.
Every year we compile a set of statistics based on voluntary information given by APS DPP members when they register.
The official DPP membership in 2023 was 2,619. At that time, 319 members (12.2%) identified as women. Since 2020, the DPP women percentage has increased in double digits for the first time ever. This continues to lag the APS-wide percentage in 2022 of 17.1%.
If we fit the percentage of women APS-wide and in DPP for the last 10 years, we find that APS as a whole is increasing by 0.63% per year, with DPP increasing by 0.55% per year. Assuming some uncertainty, this means that the percentage of women in DPP is increasing approximately as fast as in APS. This however means that DPP will not catch up to the APS-wide representation unless we take some other measures. If extrapolate further, we find that at our current growth rate, we won’t catch up to APS 2023 representation for approximately 10 years. Further, it will take ~23 years to make it to 25% representation (the percentage of undergraduate degree going to women), and ~70 years to make it to the 50% population parity, twice the length of a standard 35 year career.
It is logical that the largest increase in percentages occurs in the early career stages, with more women joining. We have only been able to start breaking down the percentages per career stage since 2016. As expected in the undergraduate category there are many more women percentage-wise than in the senior category. The largest bulk of DPP members are regular members and due to the time it takes from undergraduates to become graduate students and then eventually early career (which is 6 years according to APS). With 5 years of sample points we can now say with certainty that we have a leaky pipe-line, as seen in the graphics below. The data also illustrates that increasing the percentage of regular members is going to be slow and lengthy process.
The trend in this distribution from 2016–2023 is shown in Figure 1b. It is of note that at the undergraduate level we are matching the nationwide percentage of women in physics degrees of 25% in 2023. The second positive note is that at the graduate level, there has been steady rise in the percentage of women graduate students in the DPP, though 2023 shows the first dip in 8 years. No such steady trends are observed in the early career category, and this category has historically shown the largest leak of talent. However, we have seen increasing early-career numbers for the last 4 years with a larger spike in 2023. The regular category is rising slowly, as the actual number of women being added each year is very small