There are more women in full-time faculty positions than 30 years ago but research institutions are still reluctant to hire women or pay them in parity with their male hires, according to an annual report by the American Association of University Professors released today.
The report, “AAUP Faculty Gender Equity Indicators 2006,” highlights data from individual schools for the first time in the hopes of generating on-campus dialogue on employment and salary inequities.
“We hope to move from a perspective of national diversity and equity to one of more local dialogue on campuses about these issues,” says Dr. Ann Higginbotham, professor of history at Eastern Connecticut State University and chair of the AAUP Committee on Women in the Academic Profession.
The report says that women have nearly reached parity and are 47 percent of tenured full-time faculty at community colleges. The number of tenured women faculty members decreases to a little more than one third at masters- and baccalaureate-degree granting colleges. But doctoral universities had only one-fourth of tenured faculty who are women. This means that full-time women faculty are only half as likely as men to have tenure, the report says.
Among historically Black colleges and universities that grant doctoral degrees, at Howard University, for instance, 32 percent of tenured faculty were women. That figure was lower at Auburn University, where 20 percent of tenured faculty were women.
Among full professors at all institutions nationwide in 2005-06, women held 24
percent of the positions and men held 76 percent, says the report. Women comprised 19 percent of full professors at doctoral universities and men 81 percent. Baccalaureate and master’s degree institutions were in between, with 29 and 28 percent women respectively.
“Basically, the more prestigious the institution in the layer, the fewer the women there are,” says the study’s co-author Martha S. West, professor of law at University of California-Davis.
The report also compared salaries between men and women faculty, which has remained unchanged since the 1970s. In 2005-06, across all ranks and all institutions, the average salary for women faculty was 81 percent of the amount earned by men. Among all full professors at all types of institutions in 2005-06, women earned on average 88 percent of what men earned. For associate and assistant professors, the overall national figure for women was 93 percent.
The authors say the salary disadvantage was due to two reasons: women are more likely to have positions at institutions that pay lower salaries, and they are less likely to hold senior faculty rank.
“This doesn’t have to do with science disciplines,” says West. “Even if there are more women Ph.D.s in English or psychology, the doctoral institutions are not hiring them.”
The authors also stressed the importance of academia to convey to women that they no longer have to make a choice between raising children and becoming tenure-track faculty members.
“We need to do a better job of publicizing the whole cultural shift [of the work-family ethic] and graduate students have to be convinced first,” says West.
Higginbotham adds there might not be overt sexism, but some subtle pressures at work on campuses.
“Even though there’s a lot of progress, we’re not sure what’s going on in terms of model programs [for work-family] and the picture may not look as rosy,” says Higginbotham.
The report concludes that unless institutions establish a centralized review of all salaries at the time of appointment, salary inequities will continue far into the future.
“As long as women hold 57 percent of the lecturer and instructor positions, but only 36 percent of the assistant through full professor positions, these significant differences between men and women’s average salaries will remain,” the report says.
— By Shilpa Banerji
© Copyright 2005 by DiverseEducation.com