Today Little Pink Book, a website devoted to issues of women in the workplace, posted on gender bias in higher education. Even though women now receive more degrees than men, they represent only 26% of faculty:
Experts say the low presence of women leaders is due to gender bias. Even when women do balance home and work responsibilities, they still earn lower salaries. They also gain fewer recognition awards and are promoted less.
What else can schools do to attract more female instructors? “[Women] need a mentor, a game plan for meeting specific steps toward tenure, outside support from friends and family, and above all – persistence,” suggests Wenniger, adding that men are currently twice as likely to receive tenure.
These issues led to my other web site, Academic Women for Equality Now (awenow.org). There we explore issues of women in higher education, particularly academic medicine since that is my field and rich, longitudinal data have been collected by the Association of American Medical Colleges. Since its launch on March 28, the 2011 edition of the AAMC report, using data collected in 2009, became available. Several recent posts have examined the level of female participation in medical college leadership at the level of the dean and department, as well as representation as full professors (check out the post on May 19). An overall "Female Friendliness" score was generated for each institution as well, and individual gradecards for each college of medicine providing data will begin appearing next week.
I am delighted to see Little Pink Book joining my rant. I would love to find other women who want to explore these issues for other fields in higher education. The first step in fixing a problem requires defining the problem and what success would look like. Many institutions will be surprised to see how poorly women are represented in their ranks.