These references were compiled from a literature review of journal articles, published reports, and conference proceedings on the following topics related to the representation of women, underrepresented minorities, and/or women of color in academic science, engineering, and medicine disciplines:
• An Overview of the Pipeline
• The Academic Experience for Women of Color
• Legal Efforts and Benefits of Broadening Participation
• Exploring Bias
• Barriers and Challenges
• Recommendations and Policy Implications
An Overview of the Pipeline
In 1976, a seminal report “The Double Bind: The Price of Being a Minority Woman in Science” was published, which examined the lack of representation of women of color in STEM fields. While progress has been made in increasing their representation, the number of underrepresented minority (URM) women in tenure-track positions at the top 100 research universities in 2007 was still abysmally low and not growing at the same rate as the doctoral degrees awarded to this subset of women. The references in this section describe some recent data trends for women and/or URM at various stages of the academic pipeline in science, engineering, and medicine fields, in addition to reviewing potential reasons for their lack of growth in representation in the academy.
Cleary, R., et al. 2010. 2009 annual survey of the mathematical sciences (third report). Notices of the American Mathematics Society, 57(10):1306-1317.
This report examines trends in mathematics faculty members at different types of universities and breaks down the numbers by gender and type of faculty appointment. The data show that growth of women faculty members in mathematics departments was minimal from 2002-2009, with tenured/tenure-track female faculty members only making up 13 percent of the total faculty at doctoral granting universities, but 27 percent of the faculty at master’s granting universities in 2009. Female faculty are employed at higher percentages in non-tenure track (37 percent) and part-time (39 percent) faculty positions at doctoral granting universities compared to male faculty members.
1 The annotated bibliographies were compiled by Mahlet Mesfin, Ph.D., Christine Mirzayan Science & Technology Policy Fellow at the National Academies in Spring 2012.
Ginther, D.K., and S. Kahn. 2006. Does science promote women? Evidence from academia 1973-2001. Science and Engineering Careers in the United States. Chicago, IL: University of Chicago Press for NBER Science Engineering Workforce Project, W129691.
This study evaluates whether gender differences exist in the likelihood of obtaining a tenure track job, promotion to tenure, and promotion to full professor using the 1973- 2001 Survey of Doctorate Recipients. Women were less likely to take tenure track positions in science, but this gender gap is entirely explained by fertility decisions. In science, there is no gender difference in promotion to tenure or full professor after controlling for demographic, family, employer, and productivity covariates. Single women do better at each stage than single men. Women with children are less likely to advance up the academic job ladder beyond their early postdoctorate years, while both marriage and children increase men’s likelihood of advancing.
Ginther, D.K., et al. 2009. Diversity in Academic Biomedicine: An Evaluation of Education and Career Outcomes with Implications for Policy. New York, NY: Social Science Network.
This study examines the educational transition rates from high school to academic careers in in the biomedical sciences by gender, race, and ethnicity using a number of educational databases. This was followed by a multivariate regression to examine faculty career outcomes using the National Science Foundation’s Survey of Doctorate Recipients. While transitions between milestones are distinctive by gender and race/ethnicity, the transitions between high school and college and between college and graduate school are critical points at which underrepresented minorities are lost from the biomedical pipeline, suggesting some specific targets for policy intervention.
Leggon, C. 2006. Women in science: Racial and ethnic differences and the differences they make. Journal of Technology Transfer, 31:325-333.
This review examines the underrepresentation of women of color and non-Hispanic white women in the scientific workforce by race and ethnicity. Aggregated data obscures significant differences that can result in ineffective policies. Female scientists are more likely to earn a bachelor’s degree at a research university and are only represented at 43 of the top 50 universities. Men are four times more likely to have full-time faculty positions in S&E positions, even as women’s representation in doctoral degree programs is increasing. There is an inverse proportion of institutional prestige and proportion of female faculty members, and URM women were less likely to be in tenured positions. Female faculty members have lower salaries than their male counterparts and are less likely to negotiate other factors of employment. Implementing institutional change requires cohesive and integral efforts of understanding the issues/problems, reviewing the most effective practices, reexamining tenure and hiring processes, and strong leadership within the institutions.
National Center for Science and Engineering Statistics. 2011. Academic Institutions of Minority Faculty with Science, Engineering, and Health Doctorates. Arlington, VA: National Science Foundation.
This study examines the characteristics of minority faculty with science, engineering, and health (SEH) doctorates in 2008, including the types of schools from which they earned their doctorates and in which they teach, and compares them with non-minority faculty. SEH fields include biological/agricultural/environmental life sciences, computer and information sciences, mathematics, statistics, physical sciences, psychology, social sciences, engineering, and health
fields. African-American and Hispanic doctorates were employed in education at a higher percentage than most other racial/ethnic groups, though they also had a higher likelihood of having a social or behavioral sciences degree. African-American SEH faculty are employed at master’s-granting institutions at a higher percentage than at research universities with very high research (RUVH) activity, even when their degrees were awarded by RUVH. This trend is unique to this racial/ethnic group and can be due to employment at historically black colleges and universities.
National Science Board. Chapter 2: Higher Education in Science and Engineering. Science and Engineering Indicators 2012. Arlington, VA: National Science Foundation.
This report highlights that the racial composition of those holding science and engineering (S&E) degrees is shifting due to increased numbers of minority group members, particularly Hispanics/Latinos, attending college. The proportion of S&E bachelor’s degrees between men and women has been unchanged in the last 10 years and has decreased in computer sciences, math, and engineering. For graduate education, the number of S&E doctoral degrees earned by women, African-Americans, and Hispanics grew faster than the number of degrees earned by white men from 2000-2009, while the numbers of degrees earned by Native Americans has been largely unchanged.
Nelson, D.J., and C.N. Brammer. 2007. A National Analysis of Diversity in Science and Engineering Faculties at Research Universities. Norman: Department of Chemistry, University of Oklahoma.
This report summarizes the data gathered from a survey of the top 100 departments (according to research funds expended) in each of 15 science and engineering (S&E) disciplines, as ranked by the National Science Foundation (NSF). URMs among S&E faculty are underrepresented despite increased representation among B.S. and Ph.D. recipients. In most disciplines, representation drops at each transition point until the rank of full professor, reflecting increased recent hiring in those disciplines. In some disciplines, there are virtually no blacks, Hispanics, or Native Americans among assistant professors, with Hispanics generally encompassing the largest segment of URM professors.
Towns, M.H. 2010. Where are the women of color? Data on African American, Hispanic, and Native American Faculty in STEM. Journal of Science and College Teaching, 39(4): 8-9.
This article discusses data on African American, Hispanic, and Native American faculty in STEM disciplines based on data from NSF in 2007. When examining the number of tenured/tenure track faculty at the top 100 research institutions, for every science discipline, the numbers of underrepresented women in each racial group compared with the total number of faculty is well below 1 percent, while underrepresented minorities make up 9 percent of the general population.
Turner, C.S.V., et al. 2008. Faculty of color in academe: What 20 years of literature tells us. Journal of Diversity in Higher Education, 1(3):139-168.
This review gives a comprehensive summary of the literature from journal articles, books, dissertations, reports, and book chapters on the topic of faculty of color in higher education from 1988-2007. After analyzing the topics in all of the literature, the authors created a framework for
assessing the issue on a departmental, institutional, or national context and found both unique and overlapping themes in the challenges and support in each context. The authors also compile recommendations to address these challenges and track the main methods for researching faculty of color throughout the years, including the surge in interest in examining faculty of color in STEM and the health fields between the years 2003-2007. Finally, the authors describe the five main research gaps in the current literature.
Zweben, S. 2010. Undergraduate CS enrollment continues rising; Doctoral production drops. Computing Research News, 22(3):7-24.
This report documents data from the Computing Research Association on the trends in student enrollment, degree production, employment, and salaries in computer science (CS), computer engineering (CE) and information technology fields in the United States and Canada. The data shows that the number of Ph.D.s awarded has increased dramatically since 2002, yet only 20.8 percent of the CS Ph.D. recipients and 16 percent of the CE Ph.D. recipients are female. In addition, only 1.3 percent, 1.4 percent, 0.1 percent and 0.7 percent of the CS Ph.D. recipients are African American, resident Hispanic, American Indian and Native Hawaiian/Pacific Islander, respectively. Similar percentages apply when examining the gender and race/ethnicity of newly hired faculty in these fields, though the data of current full professors shows drops in the percentage of full African-American faculty.
Association of American Medical Colleges. 2011. The changing demographics of full-time U.S. medical school faculty, 1966-2009. Analysis In Brief, 11(8):1-2.
Chapa, J. and B. De La Rosa. 2006. The problematic pipeline: Demographic trends and Latino participation in graduate science, technology, engineering and mathematics Programs. Journal of Hispanic Higher Education 5:203-221.
Division of Science Resources Statistics. 2011. Women, Minorities, and Persons with Disabilities in Science and Engineering: 2011. Arlington, VA: National Science Foundation.
Division of Science Resources Statistics. 2008. 33 Years of Women in Science and Engineering Faculty Positions (Special Report NSF 08-323). Arlington, VA: National Science Foundation.
Frehill, L. M., et al. 2008. Professional Women and Minorities Executive Summary: A Total Human Resources Data Compendium. 17th Edition. Washington, DC: Commission on Professionals in Science and Technology (CPST).
Kaminski, D. and C. Geisler. 2012. Survival analysis of faculty retention in science and engineering by gender. Science 335:864-868.
Leadley, J., and R.A. Sloane. 2011. Women in US Academic Medicine: Statistics and Benchmarking Report 2009-2010. Washington, DC: Association of American Medical Colleges.
Leggon, C.B. 2010. Diversifying science and engineering faculties: Intersections of race, ethnicity, and gender. American Behavioral Scientist 53(7):1013-1028.
Malcom, S., et al. The Double Bind: The Price of Being a Minority Woman in Science. Washington, DC: American Association for the Advancement of Science.
Massachusetts Institute of Technology. 2010. Report on the Initiative for Faculty Race and Diversity. Cambridge, MA: MIT.
Massachusetts Institute of Technology. 2011. A Report on the Status of Women Faculty in the Schools of Science and Engineering at MIT. Cambridge, MA: MIT.
The Academic Experience for Women of Color
While the references in the “Overview of the Pipeline” section provide a quantitative assessment of the state of women of color in STEM disciplines, there are many qualitative studies that examine additional, and more personal, details about the academic experience of women of color. Studies show that there are often differences between the issues and struggles of women of color faculty members and those of other women and men of color on the faculty. Common themes that emerge from these qualitative assessments revolve around feelings of sexism/racism, campus climate before and after the affirmative action cases, feelings of isolation, and lack of self-confidence in their coursework and/or profession.
Brainard, S. G. and L. Carlin. 1998. A six-year longitudinal study of undergraduate women in engineering and science. Journal of Engineering Education 87:369-376.
This report describes the results of the first five years of the study of retention of undergraduate women in S&E disciplines by the Women in Engineering (WIE) Initiative at the University of Washington. Factors that positively affect retention of women S&E students include a continued interest in math and science courses, importance of career opportunities, gaining acceptance into the department, positive influence of advisor and/or mentor, ability to work independently and involvement in the WIE Big Sister Program. Perceived barriers to retention of women in S&E fields include lack of self-confidence, not being accepted into the department, discouragement about grades, poor advising, financial problems, and feelings of intimidation. There is a significant drop of self-confidence among women in science and engineering during their first and second years; self-confidence increases by their senior year, yet never returns to the level of entering first-year students.
Carlone, H.B. and A. Johnson. 2007. Understanding the science experiences of successful women of color: Science identity as an analytic lens. Journal of Research in Science Teaching 44(8):1187-1218.
This study describes a model of science identity based on the experiences of 15 successful women of color from their undergraduate degrees to their science-related careers. The results identify three science identity trajectories: research scientist; altruistic scientist; and disrupted
scientist. Research scientists were passionate about science and were recognized by themselves and science faculty as scientists. Altruistic scientists regarded science as a vehicle for altruism and created innovative meanings of “science,” “recognition by others,” and “woman of color in science.” Disrupted scientists sought, but did not often receive, recognition by meaningful scientific others and had more difficult trajectories because their bids for recognition were disrupted by the interaction with gender, ethnic, and racial factors. These different identities and ways that women of color experience and negotiate science suggest a rethinking of recruitment and retention efforts.
Espinosa, L.L. 2011. Pipelines and pathways: Women of color in undergraduate STEM majors and the college experiences that contribute to persistence. Harvard Education Review 81(2): 209-240.
This study explores how factors in women’s precollege and college experiences contribute to their persistence as STEM majors and explores these trends across racial and ethnic groups. The study suggests that women’s experiences in their universities are more influential than their prior experiences in high school, suggesting the crucial role of undergraduate institutional climate. It sheds light on the role of faculty and peer interactions, pedagogy, and college selectivity, among other factors, in STEM persistence.
MacLachlan, A.J. 2000. The lives and careers of minority women scientists. Presented at the National Association of Women in Education (NAWE) Conference, New Orleans, LA, January, 2000.
This paper describes a study of ten minority women from the University of California System who received Ph.D.s between 1980 and 1990 that examined the graduate school experience of these women and presents the multiplicity of answers that individual women find for themselves. In general, the women in this study reported positive experiences such as support from teachers and families, support from their advisors, ability to secure funding, and participation in various forms of formal and informal minority support mechanisms. However, they also noted negative experiences such as discriminatory behavior directing them away from pursuing higher education, inadequate preparation of their post-graduate careers, and subtle racism within their departments. Even with these external environmental factors, these women completed their Ph.D. degrees due to their character, persistence, deep commitment to science, and tremendous personal discipline.
Malcom, L.E., and S.M. Malcom. The double bind: The next generation. Harvard Education Review 81(2):162-171.
This paper reflects how the experiences of women of color in STEM have changed and remained the same over the last thirty-five years. The understanding of the route to STEM for students has evolved due to increased enrollment in community college. While much progress has been made, there is variability by discipline, with social science and medical degrees increasing while others (such as computer science) remaining constant. Many of the current challenges deal with support structures and increasing the institutional responsibility for facilitating change.
Settles, I.H. 2006. The climate for women in academic science: The good, the bad and the changeable. Psychology of Women Quarterly 30:47-58.
This study examined the attitudes of female faculty at various stages in their careers in natural science, social science, and engineering at a large midwestern university. In this sample set, white women scientists had a greater likelihood of being higher in rank and felt more influential in their departments than women of color faculty. For women faculty, the greater the feeling of sexism exists within the department, the less the women perceived their influence and job satisfaction. Factors and actions that could improve outcomes include strong leadership among the department chair, encouraging collegiality, ensuring gender equity, discouraging sexist behavior, and facilitating mentorship relationships.
Turner, C.S.V., et al. 2011. Faculty women of color: The critical nexus of race and gender. Journal of Diversity in Higher Education 4(4):199-211.
This study provides results of a qualitative analysis from focus groups of women of color in various academic positions in major public research universities. The study underscores the need for institutions to renew and expand a commitment to diversity and to disseminate knowledge about campus wide opportunities. The faculty who were surveyed suggested that the climate on campuses after affirmative action cases (Gratz and Grutter) is more negative than before the cases. As a result of the focus group formation, women of color from across campus were able to form an informal network that allowed for the sharing of knowledge and experiences.
Fox, M.J.T., et al. 2008. American Indian women in academia: The joys and challenges. NASPA Journal About Women in Higher Education 1(1):202-221.
Marbley, A.F., et al. 2011. Women faculty of color: Voices, gender, and the expression of our multiple identities within academia. Advancing Women in Leadership 31:166-174.
Millett, C.M. and M. Nettles. 2006. Expanding and cultivating the Hispanic STEM doctoral workforce: Research on doctoral student experiences. Journal of Hispanic Higher Education 5(3): 258-287.
Souto-Manning, M. and N. Ray. 2007. Beyond survival in the ivory tower: Black and brown women’s living narratives. Equity & Excellence in Education 40(4):280-290.
Vakalashi, H.F. and S.H. Starks. 2011. Health, well-being and women of color academics. International Journal of Humanities and Social Science 1(2): 185-190.
Legal Efforts and Benefits of Broadening Participation
Recent studies have highlighted the need to broaden the participation of diverse groups in STEM disciplines in order for the United States to remain competitive in the global workforce. Other studies have described the power of diverse groups in decision making processes and the effect that diverse faculty may have on the student body at universities. Therefore, the need for
increasing diversity has been recognized, and legal strategies can be employed to facilitate the inclusion of diverse groups into the workforce. The references in this section identify the need and benefits of broadening participation, in addition to presenting legal efforts to ensure that these goals are achieved.
Carrigan, C., et al. 2011. The Gendered Division of Labor Among STEM Faculty and the Effects of Critical Mass. Journal of Diversity in Higher Education 4(3):131-146.
This study examined the connections between time allocation and satisfaction for STEM faculty within the context of a critical mass of women in the discipline. Using a weighted sample of 13,884 faculty from the 2004 National Study of Postsecondary Faculty, we found a gendered division of labor that is mitigated by a critical mass of women faculty in the discipline. Results lend empirical support to theories that argue critical-mass attainment positively impacts equity in resource distribution and time allocation.
Chubin, D.E., et al. 2009. Understanding Interventions That Broaden Participation in Research Careers: Embracing a Breadth of Purpose. Washington, DC: American Association for the Advancement of Science.
This report summarizes the presentations and discussions from the Third Annual Conference on Understanding Interventions that Broaden Participation in Research Careers in 2009 that was held by the Minority Affairs Committee of the American Society for Cell Biology and AAAS. The report was structured into five sections: a) the big picture; b) theory in practice; c) pathway programs; d) data and evaluation; and e) technology. Several success stories for broadening participation for postdoctoral researchers and faculty are described, including the SPIRE Program at University of North Carolina, the Preparing Future Faculty movement, the NSF ADVANCE Program and the Forward to Professorship Program.
Malcom, S., et al. 2004. Standing Our Ground: A Guidebook for STEM Educators in the Post-Michigan Era. Washington, DC: American Association for the Advancement of Science.
This report, published one year after the court case against the University of Michigan’s use of race in its admission process, clarifies legally defensible options for protecting diversity in science and engineering programs. It proposes eight strategies for increasing the participation of minorities in science and engineering and urges campus leaders to specify diversity goals within their institutional missions even without the legal guidance from the federal government.
Page, S. 2008. The Difference: How the Power of Diversity Creates Better Groups, Firms, Schools, and Societies. Princeton: Princeton University Press.
This book examines how the collective wisdom of a group exceeds the sum of its parts and describes how teams of people can find better solutions due to the power of diversity, which includes an individual’s identity and distinct tools and abilities.
Cargill, V.A. 2009. Retaining and maintaining racial and ethnic minority investigators: Why we should bother, Why we should care. American Journal of Public Health 99(S1):S5-S6.
Coleman, A.L., et al. 2010. Handbook on Diversity and the Law: Navigating a Complex Landscape to Foster Greater Faculty and Student Diversity in Higher Education. Washington DC: American Association for the Advancement of Science.
Darden, J.T., et al. 2006. Black faculty in predominantly white U.S. institutions of higher education: The influence of black student enrollment. Equity & Excellence in Education 31(2): 6-18.
Ong, M. 2011. The Status of Women of Color in Computer Science. Communications of the ACM 54(7):32-34.
Studies show that individuals often display bias toward others solely due to their gender or race/ethnicity in an implicit and unconscious manner. These biases can affect aspects of the individual’s career by altering perceptions in performance evaluations and perceptions of his or her abilities and likelihood of obtaining grant funding. Such biases can also negatively impact an individual’s self-confidence and perceptions of success and achievement. The following references describe the effect of explicit and implicit bias on female and underrepresented minorities’ ability to succeed in math and science disciplines and progress in their careers.
Bavishi, A. 2010. The effect of professor ethnicity and gender on student evaluations: Judged before met. Journal of Diversity in Higher Education 3(4):245-256.
This study analyzed the perceptions of college preparatory students on the competence, interpersonal skills, and legitimacy of either humanities or science professors of different races and genders, based on sample CVs. African-American professors were regarded as less competent and as having fewer interpersonal skills than Asian-American and Caucasian professors, while Asian American professors were perceived to have fewer interpersonal skills than Caucasian professors. Women professors were voted less competent than male professors in science, and African-American women were rated the lowest in terms of competence, interpersonal skills, and legitimacy compared to all other groups.
Brown, S.V. 1995. Testing the double bind hypothesis: Faculty recommendations of minority women fellowship applicants. Journal of Women and Minorities in Science and Engineering 2(4):207-223.
This paper examines faculty and scientists’ recommendations of applicants to the NSF Graduate Fellowship Program, spanning the years 1976 to 1991. Regression analysis was used to test the double bind hypothesis that minority women are doubly disadvantaged because they are both
minorities and women. The findings generally support the double bind hypothesis: Being a minority significantly lowered the Reference Report ratings of women NSF applicants, and being a woman significantly lowered the Reference Report ratings of minority applicants. This was supported by data showing that certain women, by virtue of their appearance or language, are unmistakable as minorities and impact faculty recommendations in a manner distinct from non-identifiable minority women. Compared to white women and minority men, being a Black, Puerto Rican, and other Hispanic woman significantly lowered faculty/scientists’ recommendations.
Ginther, D.K. et al. 2011. Race, ethnicity, and NIH research awards. Science 333:1015-1019.
This study investigated the association between a U.S. National Institutes of Health (NIH) R01 applicant’s self-identified race or ethnicity and the probability of receiving an award by using data from the NIH grant database and other sources. Even when proposals had strong priority scores, Asians were 4 percentage points and African-American applicants were 13 percentage points less likely to receive NIH investigator-initiated research funding compared with whites. After controlling for the applicant’s educational background, country of origin, training, previous research awards, publication record, and employer characteristics, black applicants were 10 percentage points less likely than whites to be awarded NIH research funding.
Nosek, B. et al. 2009. National differences in gender–science stereotypes predict national sex differences in science and math achievement. PNAS 106(26):10593–10597.
Using results from more than half a million Implicit Association Tests completed by citizens of 34 countries, this study revealed that about 70 percent of people held implicit stereotypes associating science with males more than with females. Nation-level implicit stereotypes predicted nation-level sex differences in 8th-grade science and mathematics achievement, while self-reported stereotypes did not provide additional predictive validity of the achievement gap. The authors suggest that implicit stereotypes and sex differences in science participation and performance are mutually reinforcing, contributing to the persistent gender gap in science engagement.
Stout, J., et al. 2010. STEMing the tide: Using ingroup experts to inoculate women’s self-concept in science, technology, engineering and mathematics. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology 100(2):255-270.
This study tested a stereotype inoculation model, which proposed that contact with same-sex experts in academic environments involving STEM disciplines will alter women’s attitudes toward STEM and motivation to pursue STEM careers. The studies revealed that exposure to female STEM experts promoted positive implicit attitudes and stronger implicit identification with STEM, greater self-efficacy in STEM, and more effort on STEM tests. The authors suggest that the benefit of seeing same-sex experts is driven by greater subjective identification and connectedness with these individuals, which in turn predicts enhanced self-efficacy, domain identification, and commitment to pursue STEM careers.
Trix, F. and C. Psenka. 2003. Exploring the color of glass: Letters of recommendation for female and male medical faculty. Diversity & Society 14(2):191-220.
This study examines over 300 letters of recommendation for medical faculty at a large American medical school in the mid-1990s. Letters written for female applicants were found to differ systematically from those written for male applicants in extremes of length, in the percentages lacking in basic features, in the percentages with doubt raisers, and in frequency of mention of status terms. Further, the letters commonly reinforce gender schema that tend to portray women as teachers and students, and men as researchers and professionals.
Johnson, A.C. 2007. Unintended consequences: How science professors discourage women of color. Science Education 91(5): 805-821.
Kaiser, J. 2011. NIH Uncovers Racial Disparity in Grant Awards. Science 333: 925-926.
Barriers and Challenges
While progress has been made to assist women and underrepresented minorities in advancing their careers in STEM disciplines, barriers and significant challenges still remain. Due to the small number of women of color in the academy, difficulty remains for women of color to form same gender/race mentorship relationships, to avoid being stereotyped and to feel like they belong at their institutions. These factors can significantly affect a faculty member’s ability and motivation to progress in their career. In addition, women of color often feel the stress of being underrepresented in their gender and race, as well as stress from cultural expectations. The following references describe some of the unique challenges for women of color in the academy.
Coons, R. 2010. Survey: Women and minorities discouraged from science careers. Chemical Week 172(7):14.
This article discussed the results from the Bayer Corporation survey, which shows that a significant number (40 percent) of today’s women and underrepresented minority chemists and chemical engineers say they were discouraged from pursing a STEM career at some point in their lives. Leading workplace barriers for the female and minority chemists and chemical engineers include managerial bias, company/organizational/institutional bias, a lack of professional development, no/little access to networking opportunities, and a lack of promotional/advancement opportunities. Nearly three-quarters of the chemists/chemical engineers say that it is harder for women to succeed in their field than it is for men, while more than two-thirds think it is more difficult for minorities to succeed than it is for non-minorities.
Obiomon, P.H. et al. 2007. Advancement of Women of Color in Science Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) Disciplines. Retrieved on October 10, 2013 from www.nyu.edu/frn/publications/advancing.women/Adv.%20Women%20in%20Stem%20Tickles.html
This paper identifies unique barriers faced by women of color in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) in faculty positions, as well as positions of leadership within the STEM industry. Stereotyping, bicultural stress, and tokenism are barriers that ultimately affect the extent to which women of color advance to tenure, receive research funding, obtain leadership positions, and remain in long-term faculty and leadership positions. Solutions to overcoming these barriers lie primarily in awareness, understanding, and training of women of color and the administrators, faculty, and STEM management involved in advancing their status.
Reyes, M. 2011. Unique challenges for women of color in STEM transferring from community colleges to universities. Harvard Education Review 81(2):241- 262.
This study investigates the experiences of women of color who transfer from community colleges to four-year institutions, an increasingly common path for STEM majors. The study finds that women of color who transfer feel that their new institutions send them signals that they do not belong because of their age, ethnicity, and gender, as well as because of preconceptions that transfer students are not adequately prepared or are not “high-quality students.”
Xu, J.Y. and C.L. Martin 2011. Gender differences in STEM disciplines: From the aspects of informal professional networking and faculty career development. Gender Issues 28:34-154.
This study uses organizational network theories to study the differences between the function and value of informal professional networks (IPNs) for men and women STEM faculty at universities in the Southeastern University Research Association. In this study, IPNs encompass either mentoring or other informal work or social relationships. The authors found that woman had significantly fewer IPNs than male faculty, yet perceived IPNs as very important in their professional development. Women were more likely to have a gender-diversified IPN than male faculty, and a high percentage of women perceived that gender and/or ethnic background were a barrier for IPN access, while the majority of men did not believe those factors were relevant.
Bascom-Slack, C.A. 2011. Balancing science and family: Tidbits of wisdom from those who’ve tried it and succeeded. Yale Journal of Biology and Medicine 28:219-225.
Ceci, S.J. and W.M. Williams. 2011. Understanding current causes of women’s underrepresentation in science. PNAS 108(8):3157-3162.
Herzig, A.H. 2004. Becoming mathematicians: Women and students of color choosing and leaving doctoral mathematics. Review of Educational Research 74(2):171-214.
Kamenou, N. 2008. Reconsidering work–life balance debates: Challenging limited understandings of the ‘life’ component in the context of ethnic minority women’s experiences. British Journal of Management 19:S99-S109.
Özbilgin, M.F. et al. 2011. Work-life, diversity and intersectionality: A Critical review and research agenda. International Journal of Management Reviews 13:177-198.
Schievinger, L. et al. 2008. Dual career academic couples: What universities need to know. Stanford, CA: Stanford University.
Thomas, G.D. and C. Hollenshead. 2001. Resisting from the margins: The coping strategies of black women and other women of color faculty members at a research university. The Journal of Negro Education 70(3):166-175.
Turner, C.S.V. 2002. Women of color in academe: Living with multiple marginality. The Journal of Higher Education 73(1):74-93.
Wyche, K.F., & Graves, S.B. 1992. Minority women in academia: Access and barriers to professional participation. Psychology of Women Quarterly 16:429-437.
Recommendations and Policy Implications
While there are limited studies that specifically examine women of color in academic STEM disciplines, there have been proposed recommendations for policy interventions to increase the representation and support of this subset of faculty members. The following references describe some of the recommendations that have been proposed in journal articles, reports from the National Academies, and various workshops.
Bilimora, D. et al. 2008. Breaking barriers and creating inclusiveness: Lessons of organizational transformation to advance women faculty in academia science and engineering. Human Resource Management 47(3):423-441.
This article presents the experience of 19 U.S. universities, funded by the National Science Foundation’s ADVANCE Institutional Transformation program, that have embraced comprehensive transformation for improved gender representation and inclusion in science and engineering disciplines. It describes the facilitating factors, program initiatives, institutionalization, and outcomes of their transformation, and suggests a transformation model that all organizations can use to create an inclusive and productive workplace for a diverse workforce.
Johnson, A. 2005. Policy implications of supporting women of color in the sciences. Journal of Women, Politics and Policy 27(3): 135-150.
This research suggests that there is a pool of women of color with interest in science and the academic skills to pursue that interest. If given the support necessary to persist in science, these women will choose careers that address many other needs, domestic and international, including schooling and science education; rural and urban healthcare; public health and medical research; the environment; and other public service fields. Investing in the retention of high-achieving women of color in science yields a return on multiple levels.
National Institutes of Health. Office of Research on Women’s Health. 1992. Women in Biomedical Careers: Dynamics of Change: Strategies of the 21st Century. Washington, DC: National Institute of Health.
This report is a summary of the NIH-sponsored workshop from July 1992 that discussed the issues and barriers that women face when considering a biomedical career. It contains a section on minority women’s perspectives, which describes some of the obstacles that African-American, Asian-American, Native American, Latino and other women face. It states that overemphasis on the common ground and the greater good of all women may cause minority women to suspend working toward addressing the biases attributed to their race/ethnicity or breaking through cultural norms that may limit promotion in the workforce. Recommendations for institutions to provide commitment to the special considerations of minority women include: (1) providing trustworthy mentoring and guidance; (2) implementing clear institutional policies; (3) providing resources to facilitate women meeting expectations; (4) gaining a thorough understanding of the pros and cons of early appointment into administrative roles; (5) shifting from traditional thoughts about affirmative action; (6) providing non-threatening opportunities for minority women that downplay stereotypes; (7) building programs with other minority men or women scientists; (8) supporting faculty development in pre- and postdoctoral programs without penalties; (9) disaggregating data on women faculty by race/ethnicity; and (10) clarifying the pathway to promotion and tenure.
National Institutes of Health. Office of Research on Women’s Health. 2007. Meeting Proceedings of the National Leadership Workshop on Mentoring Women in Biomedical Careers. Washington, DC: National Institutes of Health.
This meeting proceedings includes recommendations that were specific to women of color that were discussed in a Mentoring Minority Women in Biomedical Research Workshop. These recommendations include (1) create overarching initiatives involving academic institutions and professional associations; (2) conduct and support both quantitative and qualitative research to capture and document experiences of women of color; (3) support practice recommendations in training and teaching for mentors regarding issues of women of color and provide resources for an ongoing dialogue on issues regarding women of color; and (4) support policy recommendations to disaggregate data on women of color and incorporate themes and issues regarding women of color in future meetings.
National Institutes of Health. Office of Research on Women’s Health. 2008. Women in Biomedical Research: Best Practices for Sustaining Career Success Meeting Proceedings (NIH Publication No. 09-7366). Washington, DC: National Institute of Health.
This report summarizes the proceedings of a 2008 meeting planned by the Women in Biomedical Research Workgroup at the NIH that highlighted best practices in place or under development at academic health centers and in private industries to increase the participation of women in biomedical careers. Top-down strategies by many private corporations have retained and promoted talented women during a time when academic institutions were not able to achieve similar success in these goals, though isolated academic institutions have achieved successes that were highlighted at the meeting. Common themes that were discussed at the meeting demonstrate the importance of the following: analysis of programs to determine best practices, securing strong commitment from top management, having transparent policies for hiring, salaries and promotions, rewarding success, increasing recruitment pools, celebrating
achievement, instituting “family-friendly” policies, establishing support programs at each career stage, and including women on search committees.
National Research Council. 2007. Understanding Interventions That Encourage Minorities to Pursue Research Careers: Summary of a Workshop. Washington, DC: National Academies Press.
This workshop summary is addressed to a number of different stakeholders, including researchers and prospective researchers on the efficacy of interventions from a variety of disciplines; program directors and others involved with undergraduate research and mentoring programs; funders and other program supporters; individuals and institutions committed to recruiting and fostering the success of diverse student populations; professional societies, and others with interest in these issues.
Ong, M. 2010. The mini-symposium on women of color in science, technology, engineering and mathematics: A summary of events, findings and suggestions. Cambridge, MA: Technology Education Research Center (TERC).
This report captures the presentations and discussions at the Committee on Equal Opportunities in Science and Engineering (CEOSE) Mini-Symposium on Women of Color in STEM in October 2009. A list of recommendations resulting from this conference was presented to the CEOSE and includes: (1) increase funds for programs that help to augment the number and success of women of color in STEM fields; (2) increase the knowledge base on women of color in STEM through more research, evaluations, and support for publishing; (3) develop and support a centralized, digital clearinghouse of information about women of color in STEM; (4) create and sustain a professional network for women of color in STEM; (5) recognize and study transitions that represent the greatest points of loss of women of color from STEM fields; (6) hold grantees to greater accountability for meeting the NSF Broader Impacts criterion of broadening participation; (7) give recognition awards to grantees who demonstrate outstanding work in broadening participation in STEM; (8) protect the funding of and ensure the mentoring of minority and female graduate students, postdoctoral fellows, and junior faculty; and (9) support efforts to educate the public about the status of women of color, minorities, and women in STEM through citizen science efforts, informal science education, and other channels.
Ong, M. et al. 2011. Inside the double bind: A synthesis of empirical research on undergraduate and graduate women of color in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics. Harvard Education Review 81(2): 172-208.
This paper provides a synthesis of empirical research produced over the last forty years, highlighting the variety of factors that support or challenge underrepresented minority women in STEM undergraduate and graduate programs. The findings reveal that existing initiatives may not be effectively serving minority women and that the perceived lack of interest in STEM among women of color is a myth. The authors recommend that a) institutional policy should support the advancement of underserved populations through engagement in rigorous research, student-faculty mentoring relationships, and access to professional development and publishing opportunities; b) states should have transfer policies between two- and four-year institutions; and c) researchers should disaggregate data on women of color in STEM to further understand how the intersection of race and gender manifests in different subfields.
Wong, E.Y. et al. 2001. Promoting the advancement of minority women faculty in academic medicine: The National Centers of Excellence in Women’s Health. Journal of Women’s Health and Gender-Based Medicine, 10, 541-550.
This paper summarizes national trends of women and minorities in U.S Academic Medicine programs and further highlights six programs funded by the National Centers of Excellence in Women’s Health initiative that were required to develop a specific focus on careers of minority women faculty. The programs include Harvard Medical School, University of Illinois in Chicago, University of Puerto Rico, Tulane and Xavier Universities, University of Wisconsin and University of Washington. The programs implemented at these schools addressed many issues for women faculty such as networking for support, informal and formal mentoring, faculty development, dissemination of information, and installment of awards for women faculty members. The authors proposed four recommendations for institutions to address the underrepresentation of minority women faculty: (1) measuring progress; (2) institutional support for recruitment; (3) leadership commitment to faculty retention; and (4) further research and funding to define issues relevant to advancing minority women faculty.
Daley, S. et al. 2006. Improving the Retention of Underrepresented Minority Faculty in Academic Medicine. Journal of the National Medical Association 98(9):1435-1440.
Fuller, L. and E. Meiners. 2005. Reflections: Empowering Women, Technology and (Feminist) Institutional Changes. Frontiers, 26(1), 168-180.
Glass, C. and K.L. Minnotte. 2010. Recruiting and Hiring Women in STEM Fields. Journal of Diversity in Higher Education 3(4): 218-229.
Issac, C. et al. 2009. Interventions that affect gender bias in hiring: A systematic review. Academic Medicine 84(10):1440-1446.
Leggon, C.B. 2003. Women of color in IT: Degree trends and policy implications. IEEE Technology and Society Magazine 22(3):36-42.
Perna, L. et al. 2009. The contributions of HBCUs to the preparation of African-American women in STEM careers: A case study. Research in Higher Education 50:1-23.
Simard, C. and D.L. Gammal. 2012. Solutions to Recruit Technical Women. Palo Alto, CA: Anita Borg Institute for Women and Technology.
Soto-Greene, M.L. 2005. Latino faculty development in U.S. medical schools: A Hispanic Center of Excellence perspective. Journal of Hispanic Higher Education 4(4):366-376.