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Beyond Bias and Barriers: Fulfilling the Potential of Women in Academic Science and Engineering 5 Institutional Constraints CHAPTER HIGHLIGHTS In addition to bias, systematic constraints and expectations built into academic institutions have impeded the careers of women scientists and engineers. The traditional scientific or engineering career presumes the model of an out-of-date male life course. It is predicated on the assumption that the faculty member will have an unlimited commitment to his or her academic career throughout his or her working life. Attention to other serious obligations, such as family, is taken to imply lack of dedication to one’s career. Historically, that career model depended on a faculty member having a wife to take care of all other aspects of life, including the household, family, and community. The model still fits some men but is increasingly unsuitable for both men and women who need or want to participate in other activities important to them and their communities. The traditional career model is clearly difficult for women scientists and engineers to fulfill, especially if they have children. Because the burden of family, household, and community care generally falls more heavily on women than on men—and because women seldom have substantial spousal support—women scientists and engineers often experience intense conflict between their family and professional roles. A well-documented complex of biases known as the maternal wall or family responsibilities discrimi-
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Beyond Bias and Barriers: Fulfilling the Potential of Women in Academic Science and Engineering nation hampers the career advancement of women scientists and engineers with children and the minority of male scientists and engineers who bear major caregiving responsibilities. Those on highly competitive academic career tracks are aware of these issues and often make compromises to lessen the conflict or choose not to avail themselves of accommodations for which they are eligible, such as stopping the tenure clock or reducing work responsibilities, out of fear of damaging their career prospects. Women scientists and engineers in fast-track positions, for example, are less likely than those on less competitive career tracks to be married or to have children. Those who are mothers tend to have fewer children than comparable men. Furthermore, the perseverance of women scientists and engineers is seldom perceived as evidence of the very high level of devotion to their profession that it represents. Anti-discrimination law requires universities to remedy conditions that differentially affect women’s entry into and promotion in academic scientific and engineering careers. Under recent legal decisions, the existence of stereotyping can serve as proof of discrimination. Legal trends thus encourage institutions to reduce stereotyping and also to change the institutional practices and norms that limit women’s advancement. Other steps needed to remove barriers include documenting the status and progress of underrepresented groups, establishing a work environment that is explicitly inclusive, and providing services that allow scientists and engineers to be productive while meeting their responsibilities outside of work. All those steps require leadership—and resource commitments—at the highest department and institutional levels. The most necessary and most difficult change is a thorough reconsideration of the long-accepted recruitment and evaluation practices implicit in the outdated academic career model. FINDINGS 5-1. Systematic structural constraints built into academic institutions have impeded the careers of women scientists and engineers. A successful academic career has traditionally involved the presumption that unlimited attention can be given to that throughout one’s life. 5-2. Deviation or delay, any substantial hiatus, or serious attention to responsibilities outside of the academic realm have harmed faculty members’ ability to compete successfully because it has been taken to indicate a lack of seriousness about their careers.
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Beyond Bias and Barriers: Fulfilling the Potential of Women in Academic Science and Engineering 5-3. Scientists and engineers without substantial spousal support, particularly those who shoulder major caregiving responsibilities, are disadvantaged in meeting the norms and expectations of academe. 5-4. The mere existence of apparently family-friendly policies at universities will not reduce the pressure on women faculty or their fear that family life will damage or even destroy their careers. 5-5. Well-planned, data-driven efforts to remove institutional constraints on women academics’ careers can produce significant results. 5-6. Whether those efforts involve “small wins” or institution-wide transformations, to be successful they must be based on accurate information about the existing situation, attention to problematic elements in the institution’s culture and practices, input from affected persons to help to identify those elements, evaluation of results, and buy-in from leadership at all institutional levels. Recalcitrance at lower levels can torpedo top-down initiatives, and bottom-up efforts can sink without support from those with power at top levels. 5-7. Adequate data gathering, planning, implementation, and evaluation of changes require the dedication of sufficient resources to the objective of increasing diversity. RECOMMENDATIONS 5-1. For lasting change to occur, academic institutions, professional societies, and federal agencies should work together to provide leadership on issues of equity, hold their constituents accountable for change, and provide clear methods and measures for compliance. 5-2. University leaders should incorporate into campus strategic plans goals of counteracting bias against women in hiring, promotion, and treatment. This includes working with the inter-institution monitoring organization (see recommendation 5-7 below) to perform annual reviews of the composition of their student body and faculty ranks, publicizing progress toward the goals annually, and providing a detailed annual briefing to the entire board of trustees. 5-3. University leaders should take action immediately to remedy inequities in hiring, promotion, and treatment. 5-4. University leaders should require evidence of a fair, broad, aggressive search, before approving appointments and hold departments accountable for the equity of their search process and outcomes even if it means canceling a search or withholding a faculty position.
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Beyond Bias and Barriers: Fulfilling the Potential of Women in Academic Science and Engineering 5-5. University leaders should develop and implement hiring, tenure, and promotion policies that take into account the flexibility that faculty need across the life course, allowing integration of family, work, and community responsibilities. They should provide central policies and funding for faculty and staff on leave and should visibly and vigorously support campus programs that help faculty with children or other caregiving responsibilities to maintain productive careers. These programs should, at a minimum, include provisions for paid parental leave for faculty, staff, postdoctoral scholars, and graduate students; facilities and subsidies for on-site and community-based child care; dissertation defense and tenure clock extensions; and family-friendly scheduling of critical meetings. 5-6. Faculties and their senates should immediately review their tenure processes and timelines to ensure that hiring, tenure, and promotion policies take into account the flexibility that faculty need across the life course and do not sacrifice quality in the process of meeting rigid timelines. 5-7. The committee recommends that the American Council on Education convene national higher education organizations, including the Association of American Universities, the National Association of State Universities and Land Grant Colleges, and others to discuss implementation of an oversight/intermediary body. Analogous to the National Collegiate Athletics Association, this body would act as an intermediary between academic institutions and federal agencies in establishing norms and measures, in collecting data, and in cross-institution monitoring of compliance and accountability. A primary focus of the discussion should be on defining the scope and structure of data collection. 5-8. Scientific and professional societies should serve in an analogous role to individual national governing bodies for sports and set professional and equity standards and collect and disseminate field-wide education and workforce data. 5-9. Universities and scientific and professional societies should provide child-care and elder-care grants or subsidies to enable their members to attend work-related conferences and meetings. 5-10. Federal funding agencies and foundations should ensure that their practices—including rules and regulations—support the full participation of women and do not reinforce a culture that fundamentally discriminates against women. All research funding agencies and foundations should make it possible to use grant monies for dependent-care expenses necessary to engage in off-site or after-hours research-related
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Beyond Bias and Barriers: Fulfilling the Potential of Women in Academic Science and Engineering activities or to attend work-related conferences and meetings. They should establish policies for extending grant support for researchers who take a leave of absence due to caregiving responsibilities, and create additional funding mechanisms to provide for interim technical or administrative support during a leave of absence related to caregiving. 5-11. Federal agencies and foundations should lay out clear guidelines and leverage their resources and existing laws to increase the science and engineering talent developed in this country, including enforcing federal anti-discrimination laws at universities and other higher education institutions through regular compliance reviews and prompt and thorough investigation of discrimination complaints. 5-12. Federal enforcement agencies should ensure that the range of their enforcement efforts covers the full scope of activities involving science and engineering that are governed by the anti-discrimination laws. If violations are found, the full range of remedies for violation of the anti-discrimination laws should be sought. 5-13. Federal enforcement efforts should evaluate whether universities have engaged in any of the types of discrimination banned under the anti-discrimination laws, including: intentional discrimination, sexual harassment, retaliation, disparate impact discrimination, and failure to maintain required policies and procedures. 5-14. Federal compliance review efforts should encompass a sufficiently broad number and range of institutions of higher education to secure a substantial change in policies and practices nationwide. Types of institutions that should be included in compliance reviews include 2-year and 4-year institutions; institutions of undergraduate education; institutions that grant graduate degrees; state universities; private colleges; and educational enterprises, including national laboratories and independent research institutes, which may not be affiliated with universities. 5-15. Federal enforcement agencies, including the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC); the Department of Justice, the Department of Labor, and the Department of Education; and individual federal granting agencies’ Offices of Civil Rights should encourage and provide technical assistance on how to achieve diversity in university programs and employment. Possible activities include providing technical assistance to educational institutions to help them to comply with anti-discrimination laws, creating a clearinghouse for dissemination of
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Beyond Bias and Barriers: Fulfilling the Potential of Women in Academic Science and Engineering strategies that have been proved effective, and providing awards and recognition for model university programs. 5-16. Congress should take steps necessary to encourage adequate enforcement of anti-discrimination laws, including regular oversight hearings to investigate the enforcement activities of the Department of Education, the EEOC, the Department of Labor, and the science granting agencies, including the National Institutes of Health and the National Science Foundation, the Department of Defense, the Department of Agriculture, the Department of Energy, the National Institute of Standards and Technology, and the National Aeronautics and Space Administration. A number of factors disadvantage women scientists and engineers compared with their men colleagues. Bias plays an important role, but it is only one of the features of academic life that creates obstacles for women. Various institutional practices—especially those related to recruitment, tenure, and promotion—have differential effects on women and men. Such practices can have unintended detrimental effects on people whose circumstances do not fit the traditional assumptions on which these practices were based. The traditional image of the “ideal” scientist or engineer (see below) tends to disadvantage women and advantage men. Even when an institution applies its rules and practices without explicit regard to sex, members of a group that constitutes a small minority in the organization—one less valued and less influential in setting norms—experience the effects of rules and practices differently from members of the more prestigious majority group. That often works to the detriment of the minority. Seemingly neutral practices, based as they are on the life experiences and characteristics of men, can create barriers to the careers of women in science and engineering. Social connections between academic institutions and other institutions—such as church, day care, schools, health care, or banks—can constrain the options of some people but not others, particularly with regard to expected work schedules. Women still bear the brunt of caregiving and experience the major conflict with such expectations. Institutions will need to recognize the features of their institutional life that disproportionately and systematically burden women and accordingly change policies and practices. Simple one-shot efforts will not remedy the effects of long-standing and pervasively male-biased expectations and norms. Careful analysis of particular situations and thoughtfully designed, multipronged approaches are needed to bring real change and foster the advancement of women scientists and engineers.
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Beyond Bias and Barriers: Fulfilling the Potential of Women in Academic Science and Engineering THE “IDEAL” SCIENTIST OR ENGINEER As discussed in the previous chapters, an important constraint on women’s careers is the traditional image of who merits an academic position. Not only are men presumed competent while women have to prove their worth, the traditional career model assumes that aspiring researchers can devote the decades of their twenties and thirties single-mindedly to their careers. Deviation or delay in following that course, any substantial hiatus or serious attention to responsibilities outside the academic realm, have traditionally harmed the scientist’s or engineer’s ability to compete successfully because it has been taken to indicate a lack of seriousness about one’s career. In that model, scientists and engineers may marry, become parents, and participate in family life while pursuing their demanding careers because they have full-time spousal support to assume the major household responsibilities, including rearing children and running the home. It thus presumes a life course and social role that no longer fits many men and does not fit most women.1 The model clearly does not take into account the life course of women who wish to become parents inasmuch as it requires unbroken concentration on work during the peak female reproductive years. Nor does it take into account the needs of unmarried, divorced, or widowed scientists and engineers who shoulder household, family, and community obligations without spousal support. It is a model that fits the lifestyle of an ever smaller group of people. Furthermore, this outdated model may not fit current trends in science and engineering, which call for more collaborative and less single-minded and individualistic approaches. The need is urgent to transform academic norms and expectations so that the academy can continue to attract the best people. Beyond the assumptions about timing, the traditional career model assumes that successful faculty members will become part of a community of colleagues in their laboratories, departments, and disciplines, and will receive the guidance and support of senior faculty members. For that to occur, aspiring scientists and engineers must gain acceptance and a feeling of belonging among their colleagues. As discussed in Chapter 3, women constitute a minority—and often a very small minority—in many scientific and engineering fields, and commonly feel isolated, left out, or not accepted. Bringing women and other minority groups into the mainstream is a necessary prerequisite to capturing the talent of the diverse workforce (Box 4-7). 1 E Ostrow (2002). The backlash against academic parents. Chronicle of Higher Education (February 22), http://chronicle.com/jobs/2002/02/2002022202c.htm.
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Beyond Bias and Barriers: Fulfilling the Potential of Women in Academic Science and Engineering Assertiveness and single-mindedness are easier to measure quantitatively than the qualities that we are really interested in, intellectual curiosity, dedication, and so on, which have more human dimensions. Assertiveness and single-mindedness are stand-ins that worked pretty well for a large group of men in previous generations. Even though they are no longer very appropriate, our system still selects for them. And because it “works” (at least if you ignore gender discrimination and such things), we haven’t tried very hard to do better. —Howard Georgi, Mallinkrodt Professor of Physics, Harvard University2 RECRUITMENT Are the recruitment practices used by academic institutions inviting and accessible to women? To understand how to increase the proportion of women and minority-group applicants, universities are studying their own recruitment and hiring practices. In one example, the University of California, Berkeley (UCB) examined department-level data on hiring and recruitment practices and noted which practices correlated with hiring women above, at, or below their percentage in the applicant pool.3 Departments that were successful in recruiting women did not assume that women feel sufficiently confident or included to send in an application. Merely taking such steps as designating an affirmative action officer to serve on the search committee or stating in the job announcement that women and minority-group members are encouraged to apply correlated with hiring below the level of the applicant pool. However, departments that hired at or above the level of women in the applicant pool used specific strategies that included getting input from graduate students, selecting diverse search committees, and establishing relationships with women at professional meetings and inviting them to apply. Conflict between work and family also affects the applicant pool. Mason and Goulden have found that married women who have children are 2 H Georgi (2000). The back page: Is there an unconscious discrimination against women in science? American Physical Society Newsletter, http://schwinger.harvard.edu/~georgi/women/backpage.htm. 3 A Stacy (2006). Recruitment practices. In Biological, Social, and Organizational Components of Success for Women in Science and Engineering. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press.
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Beyond Bias and Barriers: Fulfilling the Potential of Women in Academic Science and Engineering 50% less likely to gain faculty positions, compared with single women or married men who have children.4 Ginther, examining career progression by field, found single women scientists and engineers 16% more likely than single men to be in tenure track jobs 5 years after the PhD while married women with children were 45% less likely than married men with children to be in tenure-track positions. Having children, especially young children, decreases the likelihood of women’s obtaining a tenure-track job by 8% to 10% in all science and engineering fields but has no significant impact on men. Ginther attributes those differences to the coincident timing of the tenure and biological clocks and to women’s role as primary caregivers for children.5 Narrow position specifications also affect the applicant pool and the numbers of women hired. There is mounting evidence that women are choosing to work at the boundaries of disciplines. Among the science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM)6 faculty at UCB, 26% of the women and 15% of the men have joint appointments. Women tend to hold joint appointments in business, biology, law, city and regional planning, economics, and environmental science. In one of the newer departments, bioengineering, half of the faculty are women. When the biological sciences were restructured to include broad, multidisciplinary approaches, the proportion of women faculty increased to 50%. I can’t tell you how many times I have reviewed searches in which the people—predominantly women and minority-group members—were not hired, because they didn’t “fit”. —Angelica Stacy, Professor of Chemistry and Associate Vice Provost for Faculty Equity, University of California, Berkeley (2006)7 As part of its diversity initiative, UCB has started to hold some full-time equivalent faculty positions centrally to encourage groups of faculty and 4 M Mason and M Goulden (2004). Marriage and baby blues: Redefining gender equity in the academy. Annals of the American Academy of Political Social Science 596:86-103. 5 D Ginther (2006). Economics of gendered distribution of resources in academe. In Biological, Social, and Organizational Components of Success for Women in Academic Science and Engineering. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. 6 At UCB, STEM denotes science, technology, engineering, and mathematics but does not include biology or health sciences. 7 A Stacy (2006). Recruitment practices. In Biological, Social, and Organizational Components of Success for Women in Academic Science and Engineering. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press.
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Beyond Bias and Barriers: Fulfilling the Potential of Women in Academic Science and Engineering departments to pool resources and propose hires in new multidisciplinary research areas. The University of Wisconsin, Madison, and a number of other institutions have similar central-hire or cohire programs based on a commitment to enhance interdisciplinary research.8 Those policies counteract the tendency of departments to hire people to fill the mainstream slots, rather than moving the institutions forward into new fields. To accomplish the latter, institutional leadership is important. INSTITUTIONAL INTERACTIONS As shown in Chapter 4, distinctions based on sex and race or ethnicity emerge from the identification of people as members of a group, rather than their identification as individuals. Our findings on the education and career trajectories of men and women scientists and engineers do not reveal differences in ability, training, or even productivity that explain the sex differences in career progression. Rather, a web of factors—including psychosocial features, family patterns, institutional requirements, and aspirations and expectations—combine to produce unequal career outcomes for men and women. Various institutions of society—including family, schools, and employers—interact to create obstacles to women’s careers. Those interactions strongly influence the differential choices that men and women make at crucial points along their educational and career progressions. Such choices are not necessarily voluntary. Rather, career choices reflect the broad social structure and therefore tend to reinforce the current sex segregation of occupations.9 Examples include the greater propensity of women scientists to enter biological science rather than physical science fields and the lower propensity of men than women in general to respond to career setbacks by withdrawing from the workforce and devoting themselves to family responsibilities. Indeed, the latter may be a rational response for women who perceive their career success as adversely affected by factors they cannot (or choose not to) change, such as being female or having children. The set of societal and institutional connections around family formation are particularly complex and have starkly different effects on men and women scientists and engineers. The institutions on which parents depend for support in caring for their families typically have rules, traditions, as- 8 NAS/NAE/IOM (2004). Facilitating Interdisciplinary Research. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press, Chapter 5. 9 Y Xie and KA Shauman (1998). Sex differences in research productivity: New evidence about an old puzzle. American Sociological Review 63(6):847-870.
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Beyond Bias and Barriers: Fulfilling the Potential of Women in Academic Science and Engineering sumptions, and policies of their own that may conflict with those of laboratories and universities. Familial roles embody implications about available time, energy, and income. Day care providers, schools, and other child-centered organizations run on calendars that assume that parents can be available at particular hours, on particular days, or for entire seasons of the year and can afford particular costs. Laboratories assume that scientists or engineers are available when needed for research, and departments assume that researchers are free to travel to present results and deal with collaborators. Fellowship and hiring committees assume that people are free to relocate to maximize career opportunities. The importance of institutional connections shows up in the differential career effects of marriage and the presence of young children. They spur the career advancement of men but slow the advancement of women.10 On average, 64.4% of women doctoral scientists and engineers in tenure or tenure-track careers are married; 83.4% of men are married, 42.2% of women have children, and 50% of men have children. These proportions differ by field, but have not changed substantially between 1993 and 2003 (Figure 5-1). Of those women who are married, more women scientists and engineers are married to men who work full time (Figure 5-2), and depending on field, 64% to 81% of women scientists and engineers marry fellow scientists and engineers (Figure 5-3). The academic job market is national. Geographic mobility is important for career advancement. At a minimum, most successful academics relocate from where they did their graduate work. A number of lines of evidence indicate that mobility of women academics differs from that of men, and that this is tied to the increased likelihood that more women than men are in dual-career marriages, particularly in marriages to other academics. Research since the 1970s shows that women academics are more likely to be living in large urban areas, a strategy that increases the likelihood that both partners in a dual-career marriage will find satisfactory employment.11 10 Y Xie and KA Shauman (2003). Women in Science: Career Processes and Outcomes. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press; D Ginther (2006). The economics of gender differences in employment outcomes in academia. In Biological, Social, and Organizational Components of Success for Women in Academic Science and Engineering. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press; MA Mason and M Goulden (2004). Marriage and baby blues: Redefining gender equity in the academy. Annals AAPSS 596:86-103. 11 J Mincer (1978). Family migration decisions. Journal of Political Economy 86:749-773; RH Frank (1978). Family location constraints and the geographic distribution of female professionals. Journal of Political Economy 86:117-130; G Marwell, RA Rosenfeld, and S Spilerman (1979). Geographic constraints on women’s careers in academia. Science 205:1225-1231; RA Rosenfeld and JA Jones (1987). Patterns and effects of geographic mobility for academic women and men. Journal of Higher Education 58(5):493-515; KA Shauman and Y Xie (1996). Geographic mobility of scientists: Sex differences and family constraints. Demography 33(4):455-468.
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Beyond Bias and Barriers: Fulfilling the Potential of Women in Academic Science and Engineering EXPERIMENTS AND STRATEGIES BOX 5-9 Women in Cell Biology Women in Cell Biology (WICB) is widely credited with providing leadership in the inclusion of women in the society’s annual meeting and in its officer ranks (see Box 4-1). WICB began in the early 1970s as an ad hoc group of women cell biologists who met during the American Society for Cell Biology (ASCB) annual meeting and distributed a photocopied newsletter. In 1992, ASCB invited WICB to become a standing committee of ASCB. Some of the activities that WICB offers at the annual ASCB meeting are An annual Junior and Senior Award followed by an evening professional development program. A Career Lunch Table program where persons self-select to talk to those with experience in a wide array of topics (such as teaching at liberal arts colleges, the shift from academe to biotechnology, and dual-career partnerships). A professionally led workshop on such topics as conflict management. In addition, WICB members write a column in the quarterly ASCB newsletter, and their Web site offers many links to various women in science resources, ranging from obtaining speakers in all fields of cell biology to balancing work and family life.a aAmerican Society for Cell Biology Web page, http://www.ascb.org/. example, Duke University (Box 5-10) has used a combination of surveys, interviews, and focus groups. Other universities have also used quality of life surveys for internal information to help them to pinpoint critical areas on which to focus change efforts. In addition to examining the campus climate, it is important that the university leadership make it known that it is committed to the advancement of women and minority groups. This may include drawing attention to the status of women, demonstrating that the inferior status of women is a problem for the entire university, noting that the campus has zero tolerance for sexual harassment and discrimination, and making deans and department heads accountable for what happens to women in their constituencies.81 81 F Dobbin and A Kalev (2006). Diversity Management and Managerial Diversity, Addendum to “Best Practices or Best Guesses.” Special Report to the National Academies Committee on Women in Academic Science and Engineering. This report supplements their analyses in “Best Practices or Best Guesses” by separating out industries that have large research and development components and that, thus, may be most likely to hold lessons for academe.
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Beyond Bias and Barriers: Fulfilling the Potential of Women in Academic Science and Engineering DEFINING THE ISSUES BOX 5-10 Women’s Initiative, Duke University The Steering Committee for the Women’s Initiative at Duke University released a study in September 2003 in which it surveyed faculty, staff, graduate students, undergraduates, and alumnae to understand the full range of experiences in the university.a The study found that the most salient issues for women at Duke are related to the positions that they hold at the university. Those issues can range from the effects of the tenure clock on faculty members; child-care responsibilities for young faculty, postdoctoral scholars, and graduate students; and the effects of social pressure on undergraduates. The steering committee came to several important findings: Many graduate and professional students, men and women, said that communicating with faculty is often difficult. Graduate programs generally had not created comfortable environments for students who are diverse in terms of race, ethnicity, sexual orientation, culture, or family situation. Graduate and professional students, faculty, and staff consistently reported that juggling their professional and family lives is a major challenge. Women are not well represented in the regular rank faculty. The percentage of associate and full professors who are women has improved, but as is the case nationally, the percentage of women shrinks with increasing academic rank. Women at the full professor rank still make up a small percentage of the regular rank faculty. Duke University is working to improve the campus climate for both women and men. A Commission on the Status of Women was appointed to monitor the conditions for women on campus and develop “smaller working groups around specific topics of concern.” At the same time, the university announced that it would spend $1 million per year to “enhance the strategic hiring of women and minorities.”b The university also decided to spend an additional $2 million to expand its day-care center, doubling the number of children it can handle from 76 to 153 and opening it up to graduate students for the first time. Duke has made innovative investments in the community. The university has invested in day-care centers off-campus. This has benefited the entire community and allowed the facilities to leverage funds from the state. In exchange, the centers reserved a number of places for Duke faculty, staff, and graduate students.c In 2006, Duke will have 29 day-care centers participating in the program.d aS Roth (2003). The Steering Committee’s Report on the Women’s Initiative. Durham, NC: Duke University, http://www.duke.edu/womens_initiative/exec.htm. bR Wilson (2003). Duke and Princeton will spend more to make female professors happy. Chronicle of Higher Education, October 10. cJ Mathot (2005). Duke expands child care options. Duke News, September 9, http://www.dukenews.duke.edu/2005/09/childcare.html. dhttp://www.hr.duke.edu/dccp/.
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Beyond Bias and Barriers: Fulfilling the Potential of Women in Academic Science and Engineering The American Psychological Association (APA) recommends that the individuals who “fail to make the corrections necessary for gender equity should be given feedback, and their effectiveness in correcting these problems should be reflected in their compensation.”82 Additional recommendations include establishing oversight committees within schools. For example, Harvard and Yale have created a position of senior vice provost for diversity and faculty development; Princeton for some time has had a person in charge of these issues. In each case, the person is a member of the university’s central administration, is a highly respected member of the faculty, and has the ability to bring together people and practices from across the university and to initiate and implement new programs.83 Other universities, such as Duke and MIT, have advisory committees or councils on faculty diversity. ESTABLISHING AN INCLUSIVE WORK ENVIRONMENT Reports suggest that both women and minority-group members perceive the climate of university science and engineering departments as “uninviting, unappealing, and unaccommodating,”84 and they cite isolation as a reason for leaving.85 Women tend to be less satisfied than men with their fit in their departments, the racial and ethnic diversity of their department faculty, and the quality of mentoring that they receive from senior faculty.86 Good mentoring is important for postdoctoral scholars as they develop greater independence and for junior faculty as they navigate the professional and personal changes at the start of their faculty careers.87 Mentoring is also a critical component in creating and maintaining a diverse workforce (Box 4-7). To foster mentoring, some universities pair junior faculty with a senior mentor who is encouraged to provide guidance, career advice, and even intervention on behalf of the junior faculty member.88 In addition to providing mentoring to graduate students, postdoctoral fellows, and junior faculty, it is important to train and encourage all faculty to become good mentors.89 82 APA (2000), ibid. 83 Harvard University (2005), ibid. 84 Trower and Chait (2002), ibid. 85 Nelson (2005), ibid. 86 CA Trower and JL Bleak (2004). The Study of New Scholars. Gender: Statistical Report [Universities]. Harvard Graduate School of Education. 87 NAS/NAE/IOM (1997). Adviser, Teacher, Role Model, Friend: On Being a Mentor to Students in Science and Engineering. Washington, DC: National Academy Press. 88 NAS/NAE/IOM (1997), ibid. 89 Harvard University (2005). Report from the Task Force on Women in Science and Engineering.
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Beyond Bias and Barriers: Fulfilling the Potential of Women in Academic Science and Engineering Mentoring not only helps those being mentored, but helps mentors to attract new students, develop their professional networks, and stay abreast of the work in their fields.90 Studies show that students and mentors feel more comfortable when paired with people of the same sex and ethnicity,91 so the dearth of senior women and minority-group faculty may make it difficult for junior faculty and for students in these groups to find appropriate mentors.92 Moreover, appropriate mentors may already be overburdened by service obligations.93 Team mentoring may alleviate time pressures on individual mentors. Students and faculty can seek out different mentors for different issues; they may have one person with whom they talk with about how to manage the conflicts between work and other obligations, another about research, and a third about teaching. Besides mentoring, it is important that faculty have role models. Although some argue that mentoring is by far more important for career progression,94 “modeling oneself on an older person has been found to be a good way of creating a pathway into a career, making for likely early success.”95 Here, too, similarity is important. The percentage of women faculty is therefore also an indicator of academic success for women undergraduates.96 The lifestyle of role models may be as important as their sex, however. If students or junior faculty see only single women or highly aggressive and “man-like” women, they may not see anyone who is an appropriate role model. Young women—and many young men—desire a different kind of lifestyle, and if the academy cannot make room for this variety, it will lose some of its potential contributors. Women and minority-group members also report having limited opportunities to participate in department decision making and complain about being given “token” committee assignments.97 MIT’s report recommends actively seeking out women for influential positions in departments and on key committees.98 APA recommends providing lines of communica- 90 NAS/NAE/IOM (1997), ibid; Howard Hughes Medical Institute and Burroughs Wellcome Fund (2004). A Practical Guide to Scientific Management for Postdocs and New Faculty. Bethesda, MD: HHMI. 91 M Nettles and C Millett (2006). Three Magic Letters: Getting to PhD. Baltimore, MD: Johns Hopkins University Press. 92 Nelson (2005), ibid; J Bickel (2000). Encouraging the advancement of women. JAMA 283(5):671. 93 APA (2000), ibid. 94 C DeAngelis (2000). Women in academic medicine: New insights, same sad news. The New England Journal of Medicine 342(6):426-427. 95 H Etzkowitz, C Kemelgor, M Neuschatz, and N Uzzi (1994). Barriers to women in Academic Science and Engineering. In eds. W Pearson Jr. and I Fechter, Who Will Do Science? Educating the Next Generation, Baltimore: John Hopkins University Press. 96 Trower and Chait (2002), ibid. 97 Trower and Chait (2002), ibid. 98 MIT (1999), ibid.
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Beyond Bias and Barriers: Fulfilling the Potential of Women in Academic Science and Engineering tion between senior women faculty and administration and developing strategies for mutual rather than hierarchical use of power.99 Integrating Work into One’s Whole Life It is important that university leadership recognize that both men and women have interests and obligations outside work. Those may include spending time with family, performing community service, seeking educational opportunities, and engaging in leisure and hobby activities. Employers for Work-Life Balance, a UK-based public interest organization that works to implement and improve sustainable work-personal life strategies, defines the goal as “having a measure of control over when, where and how you work, leading to being able to enjoy an optimal quality of life.”100 A 2003 survey found that, when considering employers, graduates preferred flexibility to pay.101 Although flexibility is an important component of such control, it is not sufficient, as the Deloitte and Touche example shows. Without more fundamental institutional transformation, such practices as flexible work arrangements, family leave policies, and education and training opportunities, however important, will not be sufficient for gender equity. Maintaining the ability to combine productive work with outside interests and responsibilities is an issue for everyone, not just for parents. Nonetheless, because family care is so basic a responsibility and women are still the primary caretakers, it remains a key issue for women in academe.102 The American Association of University Professors (AAUP) recommends that all institutions go beyond federal entitlements by offering paid disability leave for pregnancy regardless of what other leave policies universities have.103 AAUP further recommends going beyond the provision of the Family and Medical Leave Act by extending provisions of leave for care of same-sex and domestic partners and for family members other than children and spouses and by providing some form of paid family care leave. 99 APA (2000), ibid. 100 Employers and Work-Life Balance. http://www.employersforwork-lifebalance.org.uk/. 101 UK Graduate Careers survey (2003). Cited in Employers for Work-Life Balance, http://www.employersforwork-lifebalance.org.uk/media/faqs_a1.htm#Q3. 102 R Drago and C Colbeck (2003). Final Report from the Mapping Project: Exploring the Terrain of U.S. Colleges and Universities for Faculty and Families, http://lsir.la.psu.edu/workfam/mappingproject.htm; M Mason and M Goulden (2002). Do babies matter? The effect of family formation on the lifelong careers of academic men and women. Academe 88(6). 103 American Association of University Professors (2001). Statement on Principles of Family Responsibilities and Work, http://www.aaup.org/statements/REPORTS/re01fam.htm.
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Beyond Bias and Barriers: Fulfilling the Potential of Women in Academic Science and Engineering AAUP also suggests allowing the use of short-term emergency leave for contingencies, such as a lack of family care services. Along these lines, the University of Washington ADVANCE program104 offers awards of between $5,000 and $12,000 to faculty who are dealing with the birth of a child, caring for an ailing parent, or confronting other personal issues. The grants provide assistance in the form of released time, conference travel, research support, and so forth. Similarly, the Earth Institute at Columbia University offers “transition support grants” that provide partial salary support for women researchers during times at which they must limit their research productivity to tend to family affairs. The grants provide support for research assistants, postdoctoral scholars, or adjunct professors to assist women faculty with their research.105 Both Stanford University and Dartmouth University have announced graduate student childbirth and pregnancy leave policies (Box 6-6) that allow students to postpone or reduce academic requirements for up to 3 months while remaining eligible for full-time enrollment status and retaining access to university facilities, housing, and benefits. Harvard Law School’s parental leave policy allows either parent who is the sole provider of care for 20 or more hours per week to take paid leave; this policy allows benefits to be extended to men and women without requiring that they be the primary caregivers, thereby “protecting mothers while encouraging fathers to engage in equal parenting.”106 Enabling faculty to take time off for the birth or adoption of a child does not, however, solve a problem facing many faculty committed to both careers and children, namely, that the timeline for achieving tenure corresponds with many women’s timelines for having children. One approach to easing that dilemma is to “stop the tenure clock” or delay tenure decisions for some period for women having children.107 That would allow women to stop or reduce work while engaged in child care without suffering a 104 University of Washington ADVANCE, http://www.engr.washington.edu/advance/work-shops/index.html. 105 ADVANCE at The Earth Institute of Columbia University. Transition Support Grants: Information for Application 2004, http://www.earthinstitute.columbia.edu/advance/pdf/ADV_Transition_Support.pdf. 106 J Williams (2005). Are your parental leave policies legal? The Chronicle of Higher Education, http://chronicle.com/jobs/2005/02/2005020701c.htm. 107 R Colwell (2002). Rethinking the Rules to Promote Diversity. NSF Director Rita R. Colwell’s Remarks to the American Chemical Society, http://www.nsf.gov/od/lpa/forum/colwell/rc02081acsdiversity.htm; Etzkowitz et al. (1994), ibid; Harvard University (2005). Report of the Task Force on Women Faculty; MA Mason, A Stacy, M Goulden, C Hoffman, and K Frasch (2005). University of California Faculty Family Friendly Edge. An Initiative for Tenure-Track Faculty at the University of California, http://ucfamilyedge.berkeley.edu/.
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Beyond Bias and Barriers: Fulfilling the Potential of Women in Academic Science and Engineering penalty during tenure review. Recognizing that child rearing is an issue for both men and women, some universities provide tenure clock extension to all assistant professors who have substantial responsibility for the care of young children.108 As shown in the Duke University example above, providing access to day care and other assistance with child rearing may also help to ease the burdens of parents seeking tenure or otherwise coping with juggling the competing demands of work and family. Recommendations include providing affordable child care, facilities for sick children, safe environments for children within the workplace, after-school care, child-care cooperatives, and lactation rooms.109 Universities could also establish part-time tracks for parents during early child-rearing years that would allow parents to reenter full-time work.110 In addition, many institutions have adopted “active service-modified duties” policies so that workers can reduce their workload during busy times but still receive full pay.111 These and other suggestions are summarized in the ACE report An Agenda for Excellence: Creating Flexibility in Tenure-Track Faculty Careers (see Box 5-8 above). Even with parental leave and tenure clock extension policies in place, women have been reluctant to take advantage of the programs for fear of experiencing a backlash. Suggested remedies include making it clear that tenure clock extension and active service-modified duties policies are entitlements.112 Instituting a minimal maternity leave policy and making tenure clock extension automatic upon granting maternity leave may ease this issue.113 For example, since 2001 MIT has automatically extended the tenure clock for women tenure-track faculty who bear a child. Princeton University recently established an automatic extension for men and women for both birth and adoption. And UC-Berkeley includes in its letters asking for review of a candidate that reviewers must ignore any time extension due to family responsibilities. Still, some fear that if leave policies and tenure clock stoppages are offered to both men and women, women will use them for their intended purpose, whereas men will use them to engage in scholarship, resulting in “upping the ante for tenure instead of leveling the playing field.”114 Drago 108 Mason et al. (2005), ibid. 109 Association for Women in Science. Academic Climate: Addressing the Climate for Women in Academia. Recommended Strategies, ibid. 110 Mason and Goulden (2002), ibid. 111 American Association of University Professors (2001), ibid; Mason et al. (2005), ibid. 112 Mason et al. (2005), ibid. 113 Harvard University (2005). Report of the Task Force on Women Faculty. 114 LK Kerber (2005). We must make the academic workplace more human and equitable. Chronicle of Higher Education 51(28):B6.
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Beyond Bias and Barriers: Fulfilling the Potential of Women in Academic Science and Engineering and Colbeck115 recommend neither expecting nor rewarding exceptional productivity during family leave periods or tenure clock stoppages to avoid “ramping up of performance bars.” Service Obligations Scientists and engineers also have to deal with competing commitments in their work lives, and this particularly hits women and minority-group faculty. Because they are relatively few, the same people are repeatedly called upon to serve on university and community committees, boards, and service groups and to mentor women and minority-group students.116 Even though women and minority-group faculty may feel overburdened by service obligations, they may be reluctant to decline these opportunities.117 As a result, the mounting obligations may result in overload and stress.118 Northwestern University’s faculty diversity committee recommends mentoring women on when and how to decline service invitations.119 Other recommendations include recognizing service contributions in annual merit, promotion, and tenure decisions120 and calling on tenure committees to prize teaching and service as much as research.121 BREAKING THE CONSPIRACY OF SILENCE: MINORITY-GROUP WOMEN FACULTY Women of color are peculiarly invisible in all the discussion of academic careers because they are either part of “women,” a group that is mainly white, or “minorities,” a group that is mainly male, particularly in the senior ranks.122 Furthermore, they themselves are not a homogeneous group and this further hides their particular experiences and issues. So, for example, Turner and Myers123 use 1990 census data and show that, 115 Drago and Colbeck (2003), ibid. 116 Association of American Law Schools (1996). Retaining faculty of color. AALS Newsletter. http://www.aals.org/mlt3.html. 117 American Psychological Association (2000), ibid; AALS (1996), ibid. 118 AALS (1996), ibid. 119 Faculty Diversity Committee, Northwestern University (2004), http://www.northwestern.edu/provost/committees/diversity/reports.html. 120 American Psychological Association (2000), ibid. 121 Trower and Chait (2002), ibid. 122 This is a long-standing issue; see for example GT Hull, B Smith, and PB Scott (eds) (1982). All the Women are White, All the Blacks are Men, But Some of Us Are Brave. Toronto: Hushion House. 123 CSV Turner and SL Myers (2000). Faculty of Color in Academe: Bittersweet Success. New York: Allyn and Bacon.
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Beyond Bias and Barriers: Fulfilling the Potential of Women in Academic Science and Engineering whereas among Native Americans and Latinos women are better represented in faculties than are men, the opposite is the case for African Americans and Asian Americans. And even though African American women earn doctorates at higher rates than African American men, they have a smaller representation on faculties.124 Among Asian Americans, 70% of faculty are male.125 Interviews with women faculty of color126 have revealed how closely race and gender bias are linked in their experiences. Nonetheless, the salience of race appears to be higher, and these faculty members feel that white women, who are doing better than faculty of color of either sex, have a cultural bias that causes difficulties for women of color. As one noted; “the discipline is really dominated by Western European notions.” In addition to having greater service obligations than whites in their universities because of their small numbers, women of color also are likely to have more extended responsibilities in their families and communities.127 Finally, they are even more likely than white women to have their legitimacy in the class room challenged. For all those reasons, it is critical that this group not be made invisible by inclusion in larger groups that do not share their issues. They need special and specific attention. As Turner says, it is important to break the conspiracy of silence about this group. FUNDING-AGENCY-DRIVEN INSTITUTIONAL TRANSFORMATION In addition to the university-specific practices detailed above, both public and private organizations have created awards aimed at advancing women in science and engineering by providing financial support for both individual women investigators and the institutions that support them. The goal of the NSF ADVANCE program (Box 5-5) is to create institutional changes that will help all faculty and diminish distinctions by gender and race or ethnicity. The Clare Boothe Luce (CBL) program, the largest source of private 124 CB Leggon (2006). Women in science: Racial and ethnic differences and the differences they make. Journal of Technology Transfer 31:325-33. 125 Leggon (2006), ibid; Harvey (2003). 20th Anniversary of the Minorities in Higher Education Annual Status Report 2002-2003. Washington, DC: American Council on Education. 126 CSV Turner (2002). Women of color in academe: Living with multiple marginality. Journal of Higher Education 73:74-93; D Jordan (2005). Sisters in Science. Ashland, OH: Purdue University Press. 127 ELJ Edmondson Bell and SM Nkomo (2001). Our Separate Ways. Cambridge, MA: Harvard Business School Press.
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Beyond Bias and Barriers: Fulfilling the Potential of Women in Academic Science and Engineering funding for women in science and engineering, “strives to increase the participation of women in the sciences and engineering at every level of higher education and to serve as a catalyst for colleges and universities to be proactive in their own efforts toward this goal.”128 Among its programs, CBL provides “professorship” grants that support women at the beginning of the tenure track. In addition to allowing for a stipend and benefits, the CBL professorship allocates 20% of the total award for covering professional expenses, including child care. Professorship awards are proposed by an institution, and may only be used to hire new tenure-track faculty. CBL funding also provides universities with an incentive to advance their women faculty. Proposals must describe an institution’s plan for increasing the external visibility of the candidate, nurturing her professional development, and incorporating her into a regular position at the end of the grant period. They must also demonstrate that the institution understands the factors that may hinder women’s career advancement and must describe the university’s policies for advancing women. With a substantial proportion of women leaving the academic career path because of caregiving responsibilities, re-entry postdoctoral positions may be an effective “on-ramp” to bring these women back into academic science and engineering careers. The Harvard Women in Science and Engineering Task Force (Box 6-3) recommended “senior postdoctoral fellowships” and similar kinds of funding at key transition points to enable women to reach leadership levels; such grants have also been available to facilitate career re-entry through the NIH Mentored Research Scientist Development Award K01 grant mechanism.129 The American Physical Society recently implemented the Hildred Blewitt Scholarship to support the career re-entry of a researcher who has had a career interruption due to family responsibilities.130 CONCLUSION Considerable attention has been directed at understanding how to create work environments that provide women and minority-group members fair compensation and resources, networking opportunities, and appropriate integration of work and home responsibilities. Resistance to change is 128 The Clare Boothe Luce Program. Proposal Guidelines for Invited Colleges/Universities, http://www.hluce.org/4cbldefm.html. 129 Mentored Research Scientist Development Award (K01) Web page, http://www.grants.gov/search/search.do?mode=VIEW&oppId=8425. 130 See American Physical Society Hildred Blewitt Scholarship Web page, http://www.aps.org/educ/cswp/blewett/index.cfm.
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Beyond Bias and Barriers: Fulfilling the Potential of Women in Academic Science and Engineering rooted in the worry that standards will be lowered if, for example, allowances are made for a young woman who has children while working toward tenure. Because academic institutions need the best minds, dedication and effort needs to be considered in context. It’s like watching two racers complete an obstacle course in nearly the same time, while one carries a 100-pound pack on their back and the other is unencumbered. Currently, we favor the lightweight because they probably finished first. But we should think about the heavyweight, and realize their intrinsic ability is much greater—something we would miss if we didn’t consider the context. Next year, or 5 years from now, that heavyweight’s burden will likely be lower, and the lightweight’s burden could have increased, due to aging parents or disease or a divorce. Judging intrinsic merit is important. Programs already under way in universities and funding agencies across the nation illustrate that well-planned knowledge-based efforts to remove constraints on women academics’ careers can produce substantial results. Whether those efforts involve “small wins” or institution-wide transformations, to be successful they must include use of accurate information about the existing situation, attention to problematic elements of institutional culture and practices, input from affected persons to help identify those elements, evaluation of results, and buy-in from leadership at all institutional levels. Carrying out adequate data gathering, planning, implementation of changes, and evaluation requires that sufficient resources be dedicated to the objective of increasing diversity. Academic institutions must be joined by scientific and professional societies and federal agencies for lasting change to occur. All three sectors must provide leadership on issues of diversity, hold their constituents accountable for change, and provide clear measures and methods for compliance. Together, they can work to promote and ensure equity, increase the pool of talented scientists and engineers, and ensure their integration into the nation’s economy.
Representative terms from entire chapter: