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Women in Science June 30, 2009

Posted by Dwight Furrow in Culture, Dwight Furrow's Posts, Philosophy of Gender.

Via Ars Technica:

A new study commissioned by Congress and carried out by the National Academies of Science shows that, in 2005, women received nearly 38 percent of the doctorate degrees in science and engineering, but only between six and 29 percent of associate and full professors in these fields were women.

However, women were hired and granted tenure at a rate roughly equal to men. Thus, the disparity has to do with the small number of women applying for these jobs. In biology, 45 percent of the PhDs awarded went to women, but they only accounted for 26 percent of the tenure track applications.

The study found that both sexes have comparable access to institutional resources such as start-up packages, travel funds, and grad students and postdocs to employ. Nevertheless, in all six fields, women were underrepresented at all three levels of the tenure track. On the positive side, those who were up for tenure were at least as likely to receive it as men.

Women are getting degrees in science but not going into academia. What explains this?

The obvious hypothesis is that the tenure clock is unfavorable to women who want to have families.



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