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Gender Differences at Critical Transitions in the Careers of Science, Engineering, and Mathematics Faculty
engineering faculties, the reader is cautioned about generalizing from the findings. Not only may they not apply to all fields of science and engineering, but also it may be inappropriate to generalize from findings in physics and chemistry, for example, to all physical sciences or from civil and electrical engineering to all engineering fields.
Differences and Commonalities with Other National Academies’ Reports
The committee has benefited greatly from three other National Academies’ reports on women in academic science and engineering. In 2001 NRC published From Scarcity to Visibility: Gender Differences in the Careers of Doctoral Scientists and Engineers,”15 a statistical analysis of the career progression of matched cohorts of men and women Ph.D.s from 1973 to 1995, using data from the NSF Survey of Earned Doctorates and Survey of Doctoral Recipients. The 2001 report had a much broader scope than this one; it covered employment outside academia; all science and engineering disciplines including the social sciences; and (within academia) all types of higher education institutions and faculty positions. It relied on longitudinal data on the same individuals collected over time, rather than a snapshot of faculty and departments at a single point in time. While it is not possible to draw direct comparisons between the data in the two reports, some of the 2001 findings on women’s participation in academia provide a useful backdrop:
Men hold a 14 percent advantage in tenure-track positions.
Women are underrepresented in senior faculty positions at Research I institutions.
At any professional age, men are more likely than women to hold tenure.
Women are less likely to be full professors than are their male counterparts.
The 2005 NRC report, To Recruit and Advance: Women Students and Facultyin U.S. Science and Engineering,16 identifies the strategies that higher education institutions have employed to achieve gender inclusiveness, based on case studies of four successful universities. Concluding that women face “challenges that may lead to their attrition at key junctures in higher education” and that “female faculty appear to advance along the academic career pathway more slowly than males,” the 2005 report identifies successful strategies for recruitment and retention of women undergraduate and graduate students, recruitment and advance-
National Research Council, 2001, From Scarcity to Visibility: Gender Differences in the Careersof Doctoral Scientists and Engineers. Washington, DC: National Academy Press.
National Research Council, 2005, To Recruit and Advance: Women Students and Faculty in U.S.Science and Engineering, Washington, DC: National Academies Press.