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The Need for Data

Because women of color are present in such low numbers in academia, data are difficult to collect because confidentiality is difficult to ensure—many women of color are the only woman of color in their department or in their sub-discipline at the national level. In Hurtado’s quantitative study of work/life issues, of the 260 women of color in the pool, 43 did not identify their department or their discipline because doing so would have revealed their identity. (Hurtado noted that this phenomenon exists to some extent for white women as well.) In qualitative research, Hurtado’s group commonly encounters individuals who refuse to be interviewed or later ask for the record to be deleted. Hurtado emphasized the need for departmental climates to change in order to make unnecessary these women’s concerns.

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