Marital and family status present competing demands for time on the part of a faculty member and may bring additional actors or considerations into decision making. Female applicants for academic positions may be more constrained in where they can apply. Taking into consideration children and their education and a spouse’s employment preferences and opportunities all mean women may be more likely to take other interests into account, aside from their own preferences.
A special subset of the family-work problem concerns dual-career couples, also known as the two-body problem (Wolf-Wendel et al., 2003). “Nearly 38% of women chemists are married to a chemist or other scientist, according to the 1995 ACS survey…. Just shy of 21% of male chemists are married to a scientist” (Slade, 1999:61). “According to figures from the American Institute of Physics, 44% of married women in physics are married to other physicists—and another 25% to some of scientist. A remarkable 80% of female mathematicians are married to other scientists or engineers, along with a third of female chemists” (Gibbons, 1992c). It may be difficult to find two academic openings at the same department. Additionally, trying to find two jobs at a Research I institution is often perceived as more difficult than at other types of institutions.
The question here is: Are women as mobile as men or are there factors constraining where a woman can work? If so, then men may be able to apply to more jobs than women, who may be clustered in applicant pools for a smaller number of jobs. Research supports this view. The general geographic mobility argument is that changing jobs for many academics is a positive (upward mobility), and the academic labor market is national so academics should be flexible to take advantage when opportunity knocks. Women are less able to do this, largely because of marriage. The careers of married women are likely to take a backseat to the careers of their husbands (Marwell et al., 1979; Rosenfeld and Jones, 1987). Rosenfeld and Jones argue that single women might also be geographically constrained. They may prefer large cities, which offer more possibilities for various types of social networks.
As noted in the Appendix 2-1, Kulis and Sicotte (2002:2) suggested careers of women are more likely to be geographically constrained. Their analysis indicated female faculty are more likely than male faculty to reside in doctoral production centers, areas with large clusters of colleges, and large cities. They also found women in these areas had reduced career outcomes compared with men. “Geographic constraints appear to be more disadvantageous for women, and the career advantages associated with certain locations generally seem to help women much less than men. For example, compared to men living in the same areas and women living elsewhere, women located in high doctoral production regions are less likely to have tenure and more likely to work part time. Both men and women in large cities are more likely to be employed off the tenure track, but the women occupy these jobs far more often than the men” (p. 24). For our purposes, the