Cover Image


View/Hide Left Panel

relevant consequence of this argument was that women are more likely to consider geography when deciding where to apply for academic jobs.

Data from more recent surveys continued to note the differential importance of location for women. In its survey on chemists, the American Chemical Society (Ellis, 2001:23) reported, “in searching for work, the inability to relocate is cited much more often by women than by men as a constraint.” Among those chemists who were unemployed and actively seeking positions, “close to 37 percent of women in 2000 noted that it was because of an inability to relocate, whereas only 27.4 percent of men listed the same reason. Just over 15 percent of women, and 9.1 percent of men, said it was because of family responsibilities. The percentage of women who reported that they placed no job restrictions in their job search was 28.3 percent as opposed to 48.8 percent of men (Kreeger, 2001:14). Bleak et al. (2000:14) noted recently hired female faculty placed more emphasis than male faculty on location of the institution and employment opportunities for their spouse or partner. Sears’ (2003:175) study of graduate students in science and math programs at the University of California, Davis found “women were much more likely than men to report that location was an important factor in job selection because of the location of their spouses’ jobs or their desire to be close to family and friends.”3

An important consequence is that women may not choose to apply to as many jobs as men, even among the Research I institutions. Women, especially married women, could be less likely to apply to RI institutions in smaller towns, where there are fewer opportunities for spouses. A second important consequence of mobility constraints might be that search committees are less likely to offer women positions if the committee believes the woman will not accept the offer.


The most prestigious institutions tend to do least well in recruiting female faculty. “The higher up the academic-prestige ladder a university is, the fewer women it usually has in tenured faculty positions. Research released showed that while the nation is doing a good job of turning out women with research doctorates, the top 50 institutions in research spending are not doing such a good job of hiring them” (Wilson, 2004).4

The under representation of women in the most prestigious departments could result either from a lack of demand for female faculty in these departments or from a lack of supply of female candidates. Potential faculty may be likely to consider the reputation of both the department and the institution in deciding which jobs openings they will apply for. Some argue greater prestige may not always be seen as a positive attribute by female applicants. “Women just are not applying, “says


Ellipses omitted.


See also Bain and Cummings (2000).

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