. "Appendix 3-1: Review of Literature and Research on Factors Associated with a Higher Proportion of Female Applicants." Gender Differences at Critical Transitions in the Careers of Science, Engineering, and Mathematics Faculty. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press, 2010.
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Gender Differences at Critical Transitions in the Careers of Science, Engineering, and Mathematics Faculty
“Men are more apt to have received help [from advisers] in these areas [learning to design research, write grant proposals, coauthor publications, and organize people] across types of departments” (pp. 659-660).
“Women are also more likely than men to report that they view their relationship with their adviser as one of ‘student-and-faculty’ compared with ‘mentor-mentee’ or ‘colleagues,’ which may suggest greater formality and social distance for women students” (p. 670).
In terms of outcomes, men “publish more papers and are more likely to report that they will receive their degrees” (p. 660).
Fox (2001a:660) concluded “if women are constrained within the social networks of science—in departments or in the larger communities of science—this restricts their possibilities not simply to participate in a social circle but, more fundamentally, to do research, to publish, to be cited—to show the marks of status and performance in science (Fox 1991).” The level of socialization may affect the ability of individuals to find a position. In addition, the degree of integration into a department’s life as well as closeness with a faculty member may impact whether one learns important details about available academic positions or feels encouraged to apply.
One of the reasons women might not apply to RI institutions is there is a perception that these schools have a reputation for not being female-friendly. Female students may experience a chilly climate in graduate school or may perceive that some female faculty find obstacles when pursuing their careers and, as a consequence, may opt to embark on a career elsewhere (Brennan, 1996). The committee considered a number of variables potentially reflecting the department climate for women.
REPRESENTATION OF WOMEN IN DEPARTMENTS
The committee hypothesized having a larger proportion of women in a department might be taken by female potential applicants as a signal of a “woman-friendly” department. Thus, the percentage of women applicants would be expected to be positively correlated with the percentage of women already on the faculty. However, prior research indicated this relationship may not have been linear. In their study of 93 academic positions, Yoder et al. (1989) found “departments with more than half women did not appear to be very willing to hire additional women, while departments with moderate numbers of women were. Ironically, departments with few or no women were almost as unlikely as departments numerically dominated by women to hire a woman” (p. 272). Yoder et al. explained this outcome by noting, in departments with few female faculty,