Chilly climate in AcademeThe sacred groves of academe are notorious for regressive attitudes towards women. This is surprising since academics are assumed to be liberal, but companies point out that they can't afford to waste talent the way the academy does. Women are still under-represented at all levels, particularly at tenured full professor. Contents include General Academe; chilly cliimate in the Academic metrics: grants, publishing, teaching, tenure; why women choose to leave, and efforts to improve things including Good signs:and women presidents.
Good scientists can learn from the data:
"I have always believed that contemporary gender discrimination within universities is part reality and part perception. True, but now I understand that reality is by far the greater part of the balance."--MIT President Charles Vest, introducing the MIT report
- Start here: Links to government and other reports and statistics about the chilly climate
- What's wrong with academe?
- Balancing professional with personal and family life: this section is on a separate page, including links on having your career and a baby
- Why aren't women represented up the faculty ranks proportional to their representation in the PhD pool? Science magazine published an article in August 2005 asking this question. You can't get to that article for free, but others have commented, including
- Reality Check: "You never told me that in science, men assume I’m stupid."
- Bias Literacy: the evidence for bias against women in science and how to read it
- Top ten things men can do to support women in science
- Where are they now? (PDF). from Science magazine. May need subscription. 17 years after starting their PhD at Yale, 2/3 of the students are not in academe. Men are more likely to have high-powered med school (academic) or supervisory (non-academic) jobs than women. (2008)
- Interview with Virginia Valian from the New York Times (registration may be required). "[I]n academia...What seems to happen is that men and women start out on roughly equal footing. They get almost the same salaries, and they begin at the same rank, assistant professor. But if you look several years down the line, the differences in their career paths become apparent. The men are earning more, and they are being promoted at a faster rate than the women are. " Also, see this review of Valian's book Why so slow? which addresses why this happens.
- From Inside Higher Ed, a Q and A with authors of a new collection on women in science issues called Why Aren't More Women in Science? Top Researchers Debate the Evidence.
- New NIH website: Women in Biomedical Careers
- Women, Work and the academy: Strategies for responding to "post civil rights era" gender discrimination.
- Joan Steitz discusses the effect of subtle bias.
- Report: from the AAUP, Faculty gender inequities, 2006. Discussed in The Chronicle here
- Accomplished women: An article from the Howard Hughes Medical Institute bulletin, describing the by-now-familiar conflicts for women in academic science, including marginalization and exclusion from decision making.
- Testimony from the American Chemical Society
- Surviving and thriving in academia: a survival guide for women and minorities. This is a very thorough and practical guide to finding your way into academe; what you should do to survive there; and strategies to consider if things go against you. Although written for psychologists, this guide offers information that spans all disciplines, in a straightforward tone that neither exaggerates the negatives nor covers them up.
- the Accidental Mentor: Learning the ropes from the woman professor next door.
- Cat-fight or trouble maker? Stirring up trouble between women faculty.
- An NSF report on the dearth of senior faculty
- Do women avoid competition?
- The quiet desperation of academic women
- Women men and university service : women do too much
- This article posits that there are fewer women in science because they got better jobs, and men can't figure out better options. "My personal explanation for men going into science is the following: 1. young men strive to achieve high status among their peer group 2. men tend to lack perspective and are unable to step back and ask the question "is this peer group worth impressing?.....A lot of men are irrational, romantic, stubborn, and unwilling to admit that they've made a big mistake."
- Crashing the top, an article about women academics and the conflicts they still face, from Salon.
- New AWIS site on the Chilly Climate in Academe: www.chillyclimate.org. Great idea and lots of resources!
- Attracting and retaining women in science and engineering from the AAUP.
- Sexism on campus today
- From Discover Magazine, Nov. 2002 issue:
- A Chilly Climate in Academe, essays and references.
- Yes, but what happens if you compare men and women directly? Some studies:
- an article about the Swedish study showing that women fellowship candidates had to have vastly better qualifications than men to get the same score from reviewers. And if it happened in Sweden, it surely happens elsewhere. The original study is here
- Along the same lines, here's a letter to The Chronicle describing an experiment by a neuroscientist, who sent identical CVs out for review with different names--Brian and Karen. She writes: "The results were chilling: BOTH male and female faculty were SIGNIFICANTLY more likely to indicate that they would hire the applicant when they had received Brian's vitae!.... With literally identical records, Brian sails through external reviewers without a problem but Karen needs further scrutiny." The data for this experiment are now published: Steinpreis et al. (1999) The impact of gender on the review of the curricula vitae of job applicants and tenure candidates: A National Empirical Study. Sex Roles: A Journal of Research, 41, 509-528.
- A similar study is described here
- Academe's equality myth.
- Tutorial from Virginia Valian on gender schemas and science careersapti
- Women in academia assess the need for affirmative action
- How babies alter careers, and push women off the tenure track. "It shows that so long as we continue to identify the ideal academic worker as someone who works full time, 60 hours a week for 40 years straight -- surprise! -- that will overwhelmingly be men."
- The University of Texas joins the roll of dishonor: Women faculty are paid less than men
- The glass ceiling, a column from The San Francisco Chronicle about the experience of women academics. "Academic departments tend to be a kind of gerontocracy, run by people who grew up when smart women became teachers or nurses. Their colleagues at other universities are also men; there is something just wrong about a woman sitting in a faculty discussion."
- A story from Biomednet about the recent EMBO meeting, "The Glass Ceiling for Women in the Life Sciences," reports that only 12% of EMBO's membership is female. Unfortunately, not many men went to the meeting.
- Stages in the path to equity for women science faculty
- Equal opportunity in academia: myth or reality?, text of a talk by an American statistician in an Australian math journal. A quote: "[O]nce a woman enters the workplace, she soon discovers that her male counterparts are moving ahead of her. She is making some progress, but much more slowly than for equivalent work from men. Furthemore, if and when she does move up the ladder, she continues to discover that the gap between her gains and rewards widens as her own accomplishments relative to those gains increases."
- A review of a book arguing that affirmative action has had little effect on faculty diversity. From The Chronicle.
- Committee on Women's Issues from The American Association of University Professors
- The glass ceiling in academe: a case study from one school.
- No girls allowed: when is it okay to exclude?
- Gender bias in academia 1999 reports "Although the number of women granted PhD's and hired as professors rose steadily in the past two decades.....[t]he ratio of tenured male to tenured female professors has remained unchanged for twenty years."
- Organizing women faculty. "Organizing faculty is like herding cats.....It is a constant struggle to persuade women colleagues that we need to work together if we want to change our institutions in any significant way." Got THAT right.
- Newsletter from the University of California System called WAGE (We Advocate Gender Equity) provides a digest of issues inside and outside the UC system.
- From Science's Nextwave, Knocking on the doors of the ivory tower: women navigate into academic medicine. Password may be required
- Morning in American Science: universities investigate women faculty issues. From Science's Nextwave site (password may be required.
- Don't go it alone: how starting women faculty can avoid damaging isolation.
- Panelists Offer Strategies for Raising the Number of Women Scientists in Academe
- Falling off the academic bandwagon: women are more likely to quit at the postdoc to PI transition.
- Women in Higher Education is a magazine. Some content free on line.
Slow progress in academic medicine:
- Sart with Hamel et al (2006), New Engl J Med 355;3 www.nejm.org july 20, 2006. Despite equal numbers at the student level, " ....women who enter academic medicine have been less likely than men to be promoted or to serve in leadership positions. As of 2005, only 15 percent of full professors and 11 percent of department chairs were women. " And this extends to publications, where women are not represented in commentary or as senior authors as often as you mght expect.
- Women MD-PhDs in the trenches
- A Targeted Intervention for the Career Development of Women in Academic Medicine. Reshma Jagsi; Joan R. Butterton; Rebecca Starr; Nancy J. Tarbell, Arch Intern Med 2007;167 343-345
- Promoting the Career Development of Women in Academic Medicine Ann B. Nattinger, Arch Intern Med 2007;167 323-324. Although children and families inevitably contribute, that's not all: Female and male faculty seem to have similar preparation for academic careers in terms of performance as medical students, residents, and fellows and with respect to research experience on entering an academic career. Therefore, preparation for an academic career is likely not a major cause of differences in productivity. But the available data suggest that the academic productivity of junior female faculty members is adversely and differentially affected by poorer initial recruitment packages, including items such as laboratory space, secretarial support, and start-up funds.
- Women in Academic Medicine: New Insights, Same Sad News, a 1999 editorial from the New England Journal of Medicine about a study that found women MDs have a higher probability of entering academic medicine than men, but a lower chance of advancing through the ranks to tenured full professor. The editor (Catherine de Angelis) goes on to say, "I believe mentors are more important than role models, and I do not believe equal opportunity for women will ever be possible. I would settle for equity -- that is, freedom from bias or favoritism."
- Why women leave academic medicine: are we backsliding?
Career Metrics: publishing, grants, tenure
Publishing and Productivity
- The gender effects on Editorial Boards and in Academia (from an archeologist's viewpoint)
- Why so few women on editorial boards?
- Why don't women publish as much as men?
- Gender Differences in Research Productivity, from The Scientist. "In our research, we identified three dimensions along which gender inequality contributes to the gap in productivity rates between female and male scientists: personal characteristics, structural positions, and facilitating resources. We documented, for example, that women are less likely to work in research universities, spend more time in classroom teaching, and are less likely to secure research funding and research assistance than men."
- Why are reviewers for academic journals so nasty, petty and arrogant?
- Radical changes in academic publishing. The current pattern of expensive journals is unsustainable. How do we fix it? This report offers 9 principles to transform scholarly publishing.
- "Gender Differences in Major Federal External Grant Programs," analyzed the outcomes of grant applications submitted by men and women to federal agencies from 2001 to 2003. As described in this Chronicle article, the National Institutes of Health give significantly more grants to men than to women.
- Congratulations to the recipients of the NIH pioneer awards! Unlike last year, women are well represented this time. Well done all!
Tenure in a chilly climate
- For general discussions of tenure strategies and processes, see the tenure section in faculty career issues on the faculty page. This section is restricted to issues about women and tenure.
- From Science's Nextwave on women and tenure (password may be required): Women are under-represented in the higher ranks at the best institutions " Women move through the faculty ranks more slowly than men and, even when productivity is controlled for, achieve tenure more slowly than men do."
- An article from The Chronicle about settlement of a tenure case involving maternity leave.
- Mommy Tracked How the tenure process discriminates against female professors. From Campus Progress.
- Tenure case gone bad due to sex discrimination? " Her supporters believe she is an assertive, maybe even aggressive, female scientist who is treated poorly because she doesn't act like some people think a woman should. Critics see her as a researcher who simply couldn't get along with her students and colleagues and is blaming her problems on discrimination. " What do you think?
- Tenure in a chilly climate, refers to political science departments but sounds all-too-familiar.... click here for a printer-friendly version.
- How the Tenure Track Discriminates Against Women, from The Chronicle of Higher Education. But, sex harrassment suits over tenure are generally not worth it
- Tenure and women, from the AAUW. Also see their recommendations
- Women and the tenure track: why aren't the women moving up the ranks?
- The AAUP wants universities to give new parents more help preparing for tenure
- Female Historians Suggest Slowing Tenure Clock, from The Chronicle. The Devil's Advocate says, what about men with families, or childless women? Not all women's issues reflect family responsibilities.
- It doesn't end with tenure. For women with tenure and families, moving up the ranks is challenging
A chilly climate in the classroom?Also see education for more general information about teaching, course preparation, and encouraging girls in science)
- Student ratings of professors are not gender blind
- Is there gender bias in student evaluations? from the ASCB Women in Cell Biology Newsletter. Both male and female professors are evaluated similarly as to competence, knowledge, organization, presentation, and enthusiasm. However, female professors must measure up to another standard—they are expected to be personable, approachable, warm, and nurturing. Interestingly, female faculty who do not fit these expectations are rated lower by both female and male students.
- List of articles about gender bias in student evaluations.
- Intervening when male students demonstrate negative behavior towards women
- The Chilly Climate, by Bernice Sandler, an essay on how women students are treated differently, by men and women faculty alike as well as by their fellow students.
A disturbing trend is the number of women who choose to leave academics. Some of these opt out early, at the postdoc to professor transition. However, many women who have ostensibly "made it", who are tenured and respected, often without children or family conflicts, are also choosing to leave academe in their prime years.
- Fewer women choose the tenure track , data from a Harvard study called The project on faculty appointments
- Where have all the women faculty gone? addresses some of the reasons women don't pursue jobs in academe. Importantly, the author makes the point that loss of women from the pipeline isn't due solely to family commitments and long hours. "All the career alternatives that I have mentioned are demanding. Women are not choosing different careers based on the hours involved or the lack of intellectual challenge...... We're not talking about the type of work. We're talking about something social--the established culture, collegiality and mentoring relationships in the academic sciences."
- Female Scientists Turn Their Backs on Jobs at Research Universities, an articlefrom The Chronicle. A quote: "Large universities are not carefully examining their own cultures to see what might be going on that's making women say, 'Boy, I wouldn't want to do that.'"
- More Women Teach Science in Colleges, that is, at predominantly undergraduate institutions. (Check out the careers page for information on jobs in smaller colleges.)
- Why do women leave the profession? Among other reasons: "....Senior faculty members are more likely to ...intervene helpfully in the early careers of men rather than women [and] men are more likely than women to be identified as rising stars and groomed for success".
- Why women quit coveted tenure track jobs. From The Chronicle
- Giving up tenure and just worn out. A tenured, childless woman leaves the academy.
- Where the Elite Teach, It's Still a Man's World: The women who do get hired at major research universities often find a 'toxic atmosphere' . From The Chronicle
- Exodus of women in science endangers recent gains, an article from The Scientist
- Why the loss of women matters and strategies to reverse it. This includes specific suggestions for women faculty issues.
Remembering Denice Denton
This page is sad to report the passing of Denice Denton, the Chancellor of UC-Santa Cruz. An engineer and the former Dean of Engineering at U-Washington, Denice was a passionate advocate for women in science, and for diversity in academe. I was fortunate to meet her in 2005 when she spoke at USC as part of our WISE program. We have lost a powerful voice and the circumstances of her death should cause all of us to reflect as well as mourn.
- UCSC's page has all the official news.
- Report from Inside Higher Ed covers more of the conflict leading up to her death.
- Another article from The Chronicle of Higher Ed discusses the firestorm that met her when she went to UCSC.
- There are numerous reports in the media, but their links and access are variable. Try Google. Be warned: You may be shocked to find viciously anti-woman, anti-gay commentary on some of the blogs that discuss this sad event.
- Postscript: In November 2006, the San Francisco Chronicle reported that Denton was on medical leave, and had been treated for severe depression including in-patient stay at a hospital until the day before her suicide. This compounds the tragedy. What sort of profession do we have?
Hopeful Signs: strategies to improve things, and women presidents
- NSF's Advance program provides grants to institutions to promote positive changes.
- A sample of Advance programs and related:
- UCSD's strategy funded by NSF Advance
- LEAP, from Colorado
- Women in Science and Engineering Leadership Institute from U Wisconsin. Check this one out: The Women In Science & Engineering Leadership Institute (WISELI) is a centralized, visible administrative structure with a mission to address a number of impediments to women’s academic advancement. The center structure of WISELI allows the institute to bring the issues of women scientists and engineers from obscurity to visibility. It will provide an effective and legitimate means of networking women faculty across departments, decreasing isolation, advocating for and mentoring women faculty, and linking women postdoctoral fellows in predominantly male environments with a variety of women faculty.
- PACE, , PArtnership for Comprehensive Equity (PACE) from U. Montana works to increase the representation and advancement of women in academic science and engineering careers Where are the women? Reducing the brain-drain in STEM. PDF from Harvard Business Review.
- Keys to hiring women in science
- Other sources of funding to improve access
- Changing acaeme to be more life-friendly
- U. Maryland works on building a critical mass
- From Stanford: a research program on women in science and engineering
- Are things getting better in Britain? Time to look across the pond, perhaps.
- AAAS statement of support
- From the American Council on Education Creating Options: Models for Flexible Faculty Career Pathway. executive summary
- Also see lists of organizations that address this issue
- Princeton's new president is Shirley Tilghman--a prominent woman in biology reaches the corridors of power, as seen from The Chronicle.
- Of mentors, women, and men from The Scientist, reflects on Shirley Tilghman's rise to presidency of Princeton and issues of women in science generally.
- Finally, from The Chronicle: Parity and the presidency: a conference of women university presidents.
- Women provosts at elite research universities. " The growing numbers of female provosts, and their many accomplishments, excite experts who predict that elite universities will finally hire more women as presidents."
- WOmen college presidents
- Related, the new Dean of Duke's Med School reflects on climbing through the glass ceiling (may require subscrption to NEJM)
- Madame President: Why the new female president at Harvard is an exception to the rule. From Campus Progress
- However, one concern is that these incredibly highly achieving women lead to unrealistic expectations about those at the level just below. As the saying goes, we know we've achieved equity not when the superstars make it, but when the average woman has the same chance of success as the average man.