Cover Image


View/Hide Left Panel

2003, the degree of representation varied substantially by discipline, and there remained disciplines where the percentage of women was significantly lower than the percentage of men. Table 6-1 shows the percentage of female faculty in selected scientific and engineering disciplines during this time period at the assistant, associate, and full professor levels.

In 2003, women comprised 20 percent of the full-time employed science and engineering (S&E) workforce and had slowly gained ground compared to men in the full-time academic workforce; by 2003, they represented about 25 percent of academics. Women’s representation in the academic workforce, of course, varied by discipline: in the health sciences, women were the majority of full-time, employed doctorates, while in engineering they were less than 10 percent. The greatest concentration of women among full-time academics was at medical schools; the lowest was at Research II institutions.

Chapter 3—Academic Hiring

The findings on academic hiring suggest that many women fared well in the hiring process at Research I institutions, which contradicts some commonly held perceptions of research-intensive universities. If women applied for positions at RI institutions, they had a better chance of being interviewed and receiving offers than had male job candidates. Many departments at Research I institutions, both public and private, have made an effort to increase the numbers and percentage of female faculty in the sciences, engineering, and mathematics. Having women play a visible role in the hiring process, for example, has clearly made a difference. Unfortunately, women continue to be underrepresented in the applicant pool, relative to their representation among the pool of recent Ph.D.s. Institutions may not have effective recruitment plans, as departmental efforts targeted at women were not strong predictors in these surveys of an increased percentage of female applicants.


Finding 3-1: Women accounted for about 17 percent of applications for both tenure-track and tenured positions in the departments surveyed. There was wide variation by field and by department in the number and percentage of female applicants for faculty positions. In general, the higher the percentage of women in the Ph.D. pool, the higher the percentage of women applying for each position in that field, although the fields with lower percentages of women in the Ph.D. pool had a higher propensity for those women to apply (see Table 6-2). The percentage of applicant pools that included at least one woman was substantially higher than would be expected by chance. However, there were no female applicants (only men applied) for 32 (6 percent) of the available tenure-track positions and 16 (16.5 percent) of the tenured positions.

The National Academies | 500 Fifth St. N.W. | Washington, D.C. 20001
Copyright © National Academy of Sciences. All rights reserved.
Terms of Use and Privacy Statement