22 April 2016

Female ASA presidents

I recently received an e-mail from the American Statistical Association (ASA) about the Helen Walker Society. The e-mail listed the 14 “distinguished women leaders who have held the office of ASA president” going back to Helen Walker in 1944.

Really? Fourteen? All the way back to 1944? Wow.

I thought it would be interesting to visualize the percentage of female ASA presidents over time. I found a spreadsheet of past ASA presidents online and used the data to create a timeline. (R script shown.)

# download file
url <- "http://www.amstat.org/about/pdfs/History_of_ASA Presidents-JSMs.xlsx" 
local <- tempfile() 
download.file(url, local, mode='wb') 
wb <- loadWorkbook(local) 
dat1 <- readWorksheet(wb, sheet=1)

# keep first three columns and valid rows
dat2 <- dat1[, 1:3]
names(dat2) <- c("Year", "Number", "President")
dat2$Year <- as.numeric(dat2$Year)
dat2 <- dat2[!is.na(dat2$Year), ]

# fill in empty rows
dat2 <- na.locf(dat2, fromLast=TRUE)

# add sex
dat2$Sex <- ifelse(dat2$Year %in% c(1944, 1952, 1956, 1980, 1987, 
  1989, 1992, 1996, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2011, 2013, 2016), 
  "Female", "Male")

Most recent 10 years of ASA presidents.

Year Number President Sex
2017 112th Nussbaum, Barry Male
2016 111th Utts, Jessica Female
2015 110th Morganstein, David Male
2014 109th Schenker, Nathaniel Male
2013 108th Davidian, Marie Female
2012 107th Rodriguez, Robert N. Male
2011 106th Geller, Nancy Female
2010 105th Pantula, Sastry Male
2009 104th Morton, Sally C. Female
2008 103rd Lachenbruch, Peter A. Male

I then calculated the rolling 10-year percentage of ASA presidents that were female and plotted the results.

# 10-year rolling mean
mean10 <- 100*rollmean(dat2$Sex=="Female", 10, align="left", fill=NA)

# plot timeline
# par(mar=c(4, 4, 3, 1), las=1)
# plot(dat2$Year, mean10, type="n", xlab="Year", ylab="Females  (%)", 
#   main="Rolling 10-Year Percentage of Female ASA Presidents")
# abline(h=50, lty=2)
# points(dat2$Year, mean10, type="o", pch=16, col="orange")

There were three female ASA presidents between 1944 and 1956, followed by a 23-year period during which all the presidents were male (1957-1979). Since then, the percentage of female ASA presidents has risen, reaching 50% for the first time during the 10-year period from 2004 to 2013. Excellent.

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