Turning to the faculty survey, the committee asked faculty who were either tenure-track or tenured and had been hired after 1996 what were their “main considerations in deciding to work for their current institution.” Respondents could check up to 15 choices (the 15th and final choice was Other). For each selection, respondents could check yes or no. These data were coded for analysis as follows: If a respondent selected yes or no for some choices but left others unchecked, the unchecked choices were recoded as no. A chi-square (χ2) test was conducted on each of the 14 substantive selections against gender to investigate whether women and men weighed factors differently when deciding to accept an offer for a position. The responses are presented in Appendix 3-8 and are summarized in Figure 3-2 below. The effect of gender was statistically significant only in the case of family-related reasons. As might have been anticipated, women were more likely to weigh family-related factors more heavily than men when deciding whether to accept an offer, but the difference is not substantial.
Our findings suggest that once women apply to a position at a research-intensive institution, the chances that they will be invited to an interview and be offered a position are disproportionately high for many of the disciplines we surveyed. Yet the proportion of women in faculty positions continues to be low despite increasing numbers of women receiving doctorates in the sciences and engineering. In this light, and given that the percentage of women applying for positions is apparently lower than the percentage of women receiving Ph.D.s in the six target disciplines, it appears that the only strategy to increase female representation in the faculty ranks is to increase the percentage of women in the applicant pool.
The NRC’s To Recruit and Advance: Women Students and Faculty in Science and Engineering (2006) identified institutional characteristics, culture, and policies that may have an impact on the percentage of females who choose to apply to academic positions in science and engineering. Some of these include:
Increased institutional efforts in signaling the importance of a gender-diverse faculty. This might be accomplished by increasing the frequency of positive declarative institutional statements, by establishing a committee on women, by exercising close oversight over the hiring process, or by devoting additional resources to hiring women.
Modified and expanded faculty recruiting programs. Consider, for example, creating special faculty lines earmarked for female or minority candidates, ensuring search committees are diverse, encouraging inter-