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Finding 3-3: In all six disciplines, the percentage of applications from women for tenure-track positions was lower than the percentage of Ph.D.s awarded to women. There were substantial differences among the disciplines. In civil engineering, electrical engineering, mathematics, and physics, the percentage of women applying for faculty positions was only modestly lower than the percentage of women receiving Ph.D.’s. However, in the fields with the largest representation of women with Ph.D.s—biology and chemistry—the percentage of Ph.D.s awarded to women exceeded the percentage of applications from women by a large amount (Table 3-2).

Finding 3-4: The median number of applications a department received for tenure-track jobs was 52 applications from men and 8 applications from women—or about 7 applications from men for every application from a woman. For tenured positions, the median number of applications a department received was 40 applications from men and 8 from women, for a ratio of 5 to 1. (Figure 3-1)

Finding 3-5: For job openings where only individuals of one gender applied, the gender was more likely to be male. There were no female applicants (only men applied) for 32 tenure-track positions or about 6 percent of available positions. Similar findings were seen for tenured positions. No women applied to 16 tenured jobs—or 16.5 percent of the positions. Most of the cases (29 of 32) when only men applied occurred in physics or the engineering fields.

Finding 3-6: Five factors were associated with the probability that at least one female would apply for a position, including (1) the type of position (p < 0.0001); (2) the number of family-friendly policies in effect at the institution (p = 0.001); (3) a set of discipline indicators (p = 0.03); (4) prestige of the institution (p = 0.04); and (5) type of institution (approaches significance p = 0.08). No other factor was statistically associated with the probability of there being at least one female applicant.


Finding 3-7: Most institutional and departmental strategies for increasing the percentage of women in the applicant pool were not effective as they were not strong predictors of the percentage of women applying. The percentage of women on the search committee and whether a woman chaired the search, however, did have a significant effect on recruiting women. Most steps (such as targeted advertising and recruiting at conferences) were done in isolation, with almost two-thirds of the departments in our sample reporting that they took either no steps or only one step to increase the gender diversity of the applicant pool. (Tables 3-9 and 3-10)

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