Finding 5-12: Overall, it appears that female faculty took significantly longer from receipt of Ph.D. to promotion to associate professor with tenure, but this gender effect was confounded with current rank, discipline, and other factors. It is difficult to determine whether these apparent differences persist once we control for individual and departmental characteristics such as length of postdoctoral experience and stopping the tenure clock for family leave. While women did appear to remain at the rank of assistant professor longer than did men, the differences between gender depended on factors including the prestige of the institution, the time elapsed since completion of the doctoral degree, and the current rank of the individual.
The survey data suggest that positive changes have taken place and continue to occur. At the same time, the data should not be mistakenly interpreted as indicating that male and female faculty in math, science, and engineering have reached full equality and representation, and we caution against premature complacency. Women remain underrepresented among science and engineering faculty and in the tenure-track applicant pool for faculty positions in all disciplinary areas examined. Furthermore, few departments surveyed reported extensive efforts to increase gender diversity of the applicant pool. Much work remains to be done by institutions and professional disciplinary societies to accomplish full representation of men and women in academic departments. And much additional research is needed to understand the full career paths of female academics, from receipt of Ph.D. to retirement, and to document gender differences in other disciplines, other types of institutions, and other types of faculty positions.
Research I institutions should:
Design and implement new programs and policies to increase the number of women applying for tenure-track or tenured positions and evaluate existing programs for effectiveness. This includes enhancing institutional efforts to encourage female graduates and postdocs to consider careers at RI institutions. In each of the six disciplines studied, women were underrepresented in the applicant pool relative to their representation in the pool of recent Ph.D.s (Finding 3-3). This critical gap must be narrowed to expand the number of female faculty in research-intensive institutions. Most departments reported using a very small arsenal of recruitment strategies (targeted advertising was the most cited),