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Suggested Citation:"PERSPECTIVES AND PROSPECTS." National Research Council. 1979. Climbing the Academic Ladder: Doctoral Women Scientists in Academe: A Report to the Office of Science and Technology Policy. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/18469.
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Page 117
Suggested Citation:"PERSPECTIVES AND PROSPECTS." National Research Council. 1979. Climbing the Academic Ladder: Doctoral Women Scientists in Academe: A Report to the Office of Science and Technology Policy. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/18469.
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Page 118
Suggested Citation:"PERSPECTIVES AND PROSPECTS." National Research Council. 1979. Climbing the Academic Ladder: Doctoral Women Scientists in Academe: A Report to the Office of Science and Technology Policy. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/18469.
×
Page 119
Suggested Citation:"PERSPECTIVES AND PROSPECTS." National Research Council. 1979. Climbing the Academic Ladder: Doctoral Women Scientists in Academe: A Report to the Office of Science and Technology Policy. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/18469.
×
Page 120
Suggested Citation:"PERSPECTIVES AND PROSPECTS." National Research Council. 1979. Climbing the Academic Ladder: Doctoral Women Scientists in Academe: A Report to the Office of Science and Technology Policy. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/18469.
×
Page 121
Suggested Citation:"PERSPECTIVES AND PROSPECTS." National Research Council. 1979. Climbing the Academic Ladder: Doctoral Women Scientists in Academe: A Report to the Office of Science and Technology Policy. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/18469.
×
Page 122
Suggested Citation:"PERSPECTIVES AND PROSPECTS." National Research Council. 1979. Climbing the Academic Ladder: Doctoral Women Scientists in Academe: A Report to the Office of Science and Technology Policy. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/18469.
×
Page 123
Suggested Citation:"PERSPECTIVES AND PROSPECTS." National Research Council. 1979. Climbing the Academic Ladder: Doctoral Women Scientists in Academe: A Report to the Office of Science and Technology Policy. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/18469.
×
Page 124
Suggested Citation:"PERSPECTIVES AND PROSPECTS." National Research Council. 1979. Climbing the Academic Ladder: Doctoral Women Scientists in Academe: A Report to the Office of Science and Technology Policy. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/18469.
×
Page 125
Suggested Citation:"PERSPECTIVES AND PROSPECTS." National Research Council. 1979. Climbing the Academic Ladder: Doctoral Women Scientists in Academe: A Report to the Office of Science and Technology Policy. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/18469.
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Page 126

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CHAPTER 6 PERSPECTIVES & PROSPECTS This study indicates that the status of women Ph.D.'s in academic science has improved in the past decade, but that further gains are necessary before equal opportunity is realized. The assessments of equal opportunity in this report have centered on the recent doctorate population, essentially those scientists who completed their education in 1970 and later. The date is merely a convenient marker in a long transition from growing awareness of possible sex discrimination through the passage of equal opportunity laws, the appearance of regulations for their implementation, and finally their fairly general acceptance. It was not a sharp watershed; changes were gradual, as we have seen. But young women scientists completing their education since then have had better prospects in academic careers, by and large, than their predecessors did. Whether the climate of growing equality of opportunity has had comparable beneficial effects for older women scientists is not clear. There is anecdotal evidence that some women who for many years held research staff positions have recently achieved faculty status, and that others who were long-term instructors or lecturers have been promoted to ladder posts. The total number of such promotions cannot be very large; the entire increase of women in faculty posts between 1973 and 1977 is less than one-quarter of all women who received science doctorates from 1970 to 1977. The gains and the prospects for the older Ph.D. cohorts will need to be assessed separately from those for Ph.D^s since 1970. we have traced the comparative progress of women scientists since the early 1970's in some detail. In the past decade women's share of all science doctorates has doubled, from 9 percent to 18 percent, and is still increasing in all fields of science, with especially dramatic gains in the biological and social sciences and in psychology. Their qualifications match those of men: they have superior academic records upon entering graduate school, are trained in the same departments as men, complete 117

research leading to the doctorate as fast or faster than their male counterparts, and aspire to careers in teaching and research in equal proportions. Although the unemployment rate of new women Ph.D.•s has been decreasing somewhat irregularly since 1970 (NRC, 1978) it still exceeds that of comparable male Ph.D. 's by factors as large as five. In chemistry, where women are 14 percent of new doctorates, they account for H3 percent of the unemployed Ph.D. chemists who are seeking employment, and women doctoral chemists' unemployment rate is almost equal to that for the labor force of adult women at all educational levels. While the situation is less severe in other fields, unemployment of women doctoral scientists remains high, and represents an underutilization of scientific potential as well as the material resources invested in their training. Under present and projected circumstances it is unrealistic to expect academic employment to remedy this situation. Will industry and government, where women scientists are currently severely underrepresented, absorb a larger number? Equity in Academic Employment Academic employment opportunities for women scientists still present a very mixed picture. Overall, a slightly larger fraction of women than men is employed in academic institutions, but there continues to be a disproportionately large number of women in two kinds of positions: part-time instructors or lecturers which are not only outside the tenure stream but also offer little chance for productive research, and postdoctoral or research staff positions which are underpaid. Spending much time in these somewhat marginal or subordinate positions may contribute substantially to cumulative disadvantage. The dependent or ancillary nature of such work probably provides little stimulus for developing the autonomy and drive necessary for a career as a teacher-scholar. In faculty positions, women have made substantial gains as assistant professors and lesser gains in the upper ranks. The question of the real status of assistant professorships—whether these are indeed revolving doors, and whether they are more likely to be so for women than for men—remains to be resolved by further studies. A study proposed by the Commission on Human Resources to compare the career progress of men and women scientists promises to clarify the question of "revolving door" appointments and should be supported. That the proportion of women in tenured positions continues to lag well behind that of male faculty is cause for concern. If present trends continue, it is likely that 118

there will be few tenure slots available by the time the recently appointed women are ready to be considered for promotion. The difficulty of making tenure decisions vis-a- vis the growing shortage of tenure slots should not overshadow the equal opportunity mandate. Nothing in our findings provides a rational basis for the fact that men at senior ranks are awarded tenure more frequently than women. If all untenured women now at full professor ranks received tenure overnight, the total effect on the academic economy in the sciences would be negligible, affecting approximately 200 positions out of a total of 123,000, of which about 50,000 are men who are tenured full professors. Although women hold a higher proportion of ladder positions than they used to, especially at the assistant professor level, they also hold a much larger share of off- ladder positions than in the past. In the leading universities women are almost half of all scientists in the ambiguous "instructor/lecturer" category. We have no way of knowing whether this represents a laudable effort to have women in departments where no faculty openings exist, or a practice of lower offers and lower promotion rates for women. Effectiveness of Affirmative Action Delays in the early implementation of equal opportunity laws cost several years during which employment of women scientists on faculties did not change materially—years when there was still some growth. Since 1973 growth has been minimal in leading science departments and only moderate in others. Employment of women faculty has increased during these last few years, but the absolute gain in numbers is so small as to produce only a minimal effect on the total. Yet if it signals a trend, a change in attitudes, it may make an important difference. Given the long history of underutilization of women in academe, we would not have expected material changes in the absence of affirmative action legislation. That some changes have occurred is probably due in part to this legislation, although actual enforcement has been inconsistent and scattered. The threat of possible litigation through individual and class action suits, and of the cost of such litigation, is probably the most effective enforcement mechanism that exists. Even on-site compliance reviews are apparently not being used as enforcement tools. Undoubtedly the changes in general social climate and growing acceptance of women in various non-traditional professions have also contributed materially to their growing numbers among science faculties. 119

With enforcement responsibility recently consolidated in the Department of Labor, some improvement in performance may result. It is hoped that more uniform administration will produce fewer capricious decisions and requests and will deal more sensitively with the resolution of difficult conflicts. We would hope to see increasing levels of cooperation on the part of both academic institutions and the federal government. Remedial Actions Since the total size of faculties in the research universities (and probably also in others) is unlikely to grow in the foreseeable future, we cannot expect a significant increase in the proportion of women on science faculties in the absence of special programs. Yet, when half of all undergraduates are women and graduate enrollments of women are increasing steeply, it is educationally sound and desirable to have women well represented on faculties. Otherwise we run the risk not only of losing scientific talent but of short-changing the next generation of students. If full equality of opportunity is to be attained in higher education, both male and female students will need professional women as models and mentors. Academic Salaries Salary equity is difficult to assess from aggregate data and is probably best studied intra-institutionally; various acceptable procedures for doing so have been published. The statistics available to us certainly suggest, at the least, that such studies are needed: some salary differences favoring men exist in all fields, at all levels, and in all categories of institutions. Whether they may be justified in individual cases on grounds of length of service or different responsibilities is not the issue. Rather, the issue is that prior conditions which determine fair salaries should not distinguish between men and women. Advisory Committee Service The opportunities of women scientists to augment their own horizons, profit from the personal exposure, and contribute their expertise to national science policy by serving on a variety of advisory bodies have expanded considerably in recent years- An analysis of just where and how women advisors are being utilized—and where they are not—is hampered somewhat by the very uneven reporting practices regarding advisory 120

committees which we have encountered. Much of our information was assembled piecemeal and is not regularly and publicly available; only NIH was able to furnish complete and full information on the composition of its committees. This is accomplished through a central office which also monitors appointments to insure adequate numbers of women. The Issue of Mobility The possibility that most of the manifest differences in women scientists' careers—in type of appointment, quality of institution, amount of salary, and eventual recognition— stems from their family responsibility and their consequently reduced job mobility has been raised widely and frequently. Although most of our data do not bear on this issue directly, certain inferences are possible. First, a clear distinction must be made between recent years, since about 1970, and the preceding period. Before the advent of affirmative action, women rarely received offers, they looked for jobs, and if they were married, usually where their husband's opportunities were best. Even the most distinguished women scientists, prospective Nobel laureates included, were not offered endowed chairs and other amenities to lure them to distant institutions. The question of independent career mobility, therefore, did not arise for them. Some achieved distinction despite the lack of offers, some did not. More recently, career mobility has ceased to be exclusively a female problem. Young families, especially in academe, increasingly look for institutions which offer desirable opportunities to both spouses, and some leading universities have had difficulty in recruiting faculty partly because of what one characterized as the "working mate" problem (Chronicle of Higher Education, Oct. 23, 1978). Other issues, such as unwillingness to uproot children and inability to pay inflated housing costs are contributing to the problem, and professional moves are no longer regarded as quite so desirable. To what extent such considerations have actually influenced career decisions by either women or men in the last few years is not known. It is reasonable to assume, however, 1) that single women would be free to follow career opportunities, and 2) that such mobility restrictions as may apply to married women would hold equally for all fields. The fact that single women's careers (rank, salary, etc.) resemble those of married women rather than men suggests that factors other than mobility are at work; similarly, the fact that women psychologists' academic status closely resembles men's regardless of marital status while women 121

chemists' does not, also supports the inference that lack of mobility is a less important career factor than sex. Nonetheless, future career mobility of both sexes would certainly be enhanced by the provision by universities of better support services in locating promising employment for a spouse. The variety of individual situations likely to be encountered does not lend itself to recommending a general program but in many cases some effort by departments, possibly through careers service offices, would be beneficial. Recommendations Our recommendations to the Federal Government and to academic institutions for better utilization of doctoral women scientists are as follows: Recommendations for Fellowship and Training Programs Recommendation 1 That federally supported scientist-teacher awards be granted annually to a minimum of 25 women for the next five years, each tenable for at least a five-year period. These awards, based on merit, would afford a method of adding women to leading science faculties on a semi-permanent basis, increasing their numbers by about 10 percent — a great- er increase than could reasonably be accommodated by the cur- rent numbers of job openings. The more important impact would lie in the distinction of the award. The amounts of the awards would be comparable to annual faculty salaries. It must be emphasized that we regard such awards as additions to, not substitutes for, regular faculty hiring. The cost of such a program is of course considerable, but still a good deal less than the currently ineffective efforts toward affirmative action enforcement, and the cost of liti- gation. Career development awards of this type have analogies in existing programs, e.g., at NIH, and are thus not a radical policy departure. Recommendation 2 That fellowship support from federal sources be made available to enable older women scientists to update their training by means of short courses, summer work, or other specialized education. 122

With obsolete training and out-of-date skills, many older Ph.D.'s will have little chance to obtain highly competitive awards. Because these scientists do not exist in large homogeneous groups, it is difficult to make very detailed re- commendations concerning the types of courses which should be offered or their location or sponsorship. Short courses spon- sored by professional societies, such as those of the American Chemical Society, might be appropriate. Research departments and government or industrial laboratories might also be suit- able places for such updating. Recommendation S That an experimental program of research support and affilia- tion with active research departments be instituted for women scientists at teaching colleges to enhance the momentum of their research. The prospect that this proposal offers of giving added impetus to their research by exposure to a highly active research environment and enhancing the quality of instruction in their permanent positions is considerable. Such a program could be minimal in cost, and might greatly enhance the per- ceptions and attitudes of research faculties toward women colleagues. Reaommendation 4 That a pilot program of awards and grants to facilitate career moves by couples be instituted on a trial basis for two to three years. Either spouse would qualify if the other part- ner had received a permanent appointment requiring re-location. The award would provide support for establishing a research program at a new institution. Some leading universities have had difficulty in recruiting faculty partly because of what one characterized as the "working mate" problem (Chronicle of Higher Education, Oct. 23, 1978). This program would enhance the career mobility of scientists and afford better utilization of men and women who would other- wise face a hiatus in their research efforts. Reoormendat-ion 5 That the National Science Foundation, as lead agency for federal research support in universities, consult with universities to devise programs that will enable non-tenure track faculty to initiate and develop independently funded research programs. 123

Internal regulations of most institutions do not allow or encourage off-ladder faculty to apply for independent research grants, making it difficult or impossible for such individuals to establish a research record. Women scientists are markedly overrepresented in such positions, as already noted, and their opportunities for advancement are specifically circumscribed by the limitations on grant applications. Recommendations for Improved Monitoring of Equal Opportunity Policies Reoommendation 6 That pre-award compliance reviews give attention to promotions of women to associate or full professor ranks without tenure. The proportion of women in senior ranks who are awarded tenure continues to lag behind that of male faculty. Nothing in our findings provides an explanation for this difference. We therefore recommend that affirmative action reporting include tenure comparisons as well as numerical gains. Recommendation 7 That all public and private institutions be required to include academic salary information in their affirmative action reporting. Affirmative action regulations as currently implemented in higher education rarely include regular reporting of salary data and, at least in private institutions, such information usually remains confidential. In general, salary differentials between men and women are greater in private universities than in public ones (Chronicle of Higher Education, July 17, 1978, pp. 9-12). Inclusion of salaries in reporting should encourage careful review of individual salary disparities and equalization where justified. Privacy issues need not be an insuperable obstacle; leading public research universities apparently have no problems with publication of salaries. This recommendation is not intended to require disclosure of "supergrade" salaries for individuals of exceptional dis- tinction, since these derive from merit considerations beyond the scope of any remedial program. The exemption would be similar to the widely accepted exemptions of certain endowed professorships from affirmative action practices. 124

Reaommendation 8 That equal opportunity policies be linked more directly to departmental or project levels rather than to university-wide equal opportunity performance. Awards below $1 million (which do not subject the institution to a pre-award compliance review) should be contingent on satisfactory equal opportunity efforts within the department concerned, rather than requiring evidence of compliance throughout the institution. We believe that such closer linking of awards with the units which receive the primary benefits will contribute to simplified administration, and avoid potentially penalizing entire institutions for isolated infractions. Reaommendation 9 That the National Science Foundation follow NIH in monitoring and periodically reporting on advisory committee appointments to insure that committees and panels include appropriate numbers of women scientists. Such monitoring should also cover the various ad hoc panels that are frequently assembled for very specific short- term tasks. In reports that have been made available to us, ad hoc panels members have not always been included. Recommendations to Institutions ReGommendat-ion 10 That science departments and EEO officers assist in assuring that women faculty at senior ranks who are still untenured and may have been overlooked in previous reviews, are now given appropriate tenure reviews. Recommendation 11 That departments and affirmative action officers carefully re- view the disproportionately high number of women appointed to off-ladder positions. In the leading universities, women are almost half of all scientists in the ambiguous "instructor/lecturer" category. We have no way of knowing whether this represents a laudable effort to have women in departments where no faculty openings exist, or a practice of lower offers and lower promotion rates for women. 125

Recommendation 12 That the National Academy of Sciences/National Research Council follow the NIH in monitoring and periodically reporting on advisory committee appointments to insure that committees and panels include appropriate numbers of women scientists. Such monitoring should also cover the various ad hoc panels that are frequently assembled for very specific short- term tasks. Recommendation 13 That institutions give attention to facilitation of young women's scientific careers. During periods when they are producing and raising small children many young women and men may need to interrupt or restrict their employment to part-time. Options should be available that would utilize their talents on a rigorous but less than full-time basis. Possible mechanisms would include part-time positions within the tenure track. It is important that institutions also facilitate the development of an independent career identity. Young women today may sense pressure to become overloaded with student advising, serving on committees within the institution, and other types of university service. While these other activi- ties are not unimportant, an over-burden may greatly restrict career development. Conclusion Universities as corporate entities must learn to assume a more cooperative attitude toward equal opportunity for women. Much of the cost of affirmative action is due to the adversary position taken by universities initially, and to their continuing efforts to claim a form of autonomy to which the use of public funds does not entitle them. Academic freedom does not transcend the law. It is our hope that the suggestions we have made will contribute to greater cooperation between universities and the Federal government and a lessening of the adversary climate surround- ing equal opportunity problems. 126

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