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From Scarcity to Visibility: Gender Differences in the Careers of Doctoral Scientists and Engineers
science” (Wolfle 1972). Third, indicators of career attainment and rewards are more public and more uniformly defined in academia than in other sectors, allowing researchers to more readily collect detailed data on career outcomes.
The position of women in the academic sector is also critical because it is within academia that future generations of scientists and engineers are trained. Frieze and Hanusa (1984) discuss a variety of reasons why female faculty may be especially important as role models and mentors for female graduate students. The presence of more than a token number of women on the faculty of graduate programs may be important both for recruiting new generations of women to graduate programs and for retaining them once they enroll in graduate education. Accordingly, in the analyses that follow we give special attention to scientists and engineers working in Research I universities and medical schools. Not only do these locations provide the majority of doctoral and postdoctoral training, but they are also the most conducive organizational contexts for a prestigious research career. For women to have an equal standing with men in science and engineering, it is essential that they gain parity within the most prestigious academic locations.
While our focus in this chapter is on scientists and engineers with full-time employment in academia, it is important to keep in mind that a greater proportion of women than men are part time employees in academia, as shown in Chapter 4. In the rest of this chapter, unless otherwise noted, we restrict our analysis to the full-time labor force.
From 1973 to 1995, the percent of the combined male and female doctoral labor force that worked in academia decreased from 51 percent of all scientists and engineers to 40 percent. In 1973, 5 percentage points more men than women were working full time in academia, as shown by the two sets of bars on the left hand side of Figure 6–1. The relative decline in academic employment that occurred after 1973 was more rapid for men than for women, so that by 1995 three percentage points more women than men held full-time academic jobs. While our findings may appear to contradict past research that found women to be over-represented in academia (Zuckerman and Cole 1975 and the literature cited therein), keep in mind that we are considering men and women as a percent of the entire labor force, not as a percent of those working full time. If we consider only those in the full-time labor force (i.e., excluding those who are
See Appendix Tables D-1-D-2 for further information.