Monday, April 27, 2009

New Study: Women In Academia Behind in Promotions

Today the Modern Language Association of America released a report that examines the gender disparities in academic careers. This is something I wrote about a couple years ago for Campus Progress (in a three-part series). Like any kind of advancement and pay equity situation, the reasons for this are complicated. The good thing about this study, though, is it actually examines some of the reasons why women advance in academia more slowly than their male counterparts do.
  • Women spend two fewer hours per week on research and writing. In many institutions, the quality and volume of papers published is one of the key factors considered for advancement. Those hours add up over time, and it's no wonder that women are struggling to keep up the publishing rate with their male peers.
  • Women spend more time with feedback (grading or comments) and course preparation than their male peers. If you're wondering where that extra time for research comes from, this is it. In other words, women in academia are spending more time on the teaching element of their jobs while men tend to weight toward the research element of their jobs.
Both are important components to academic institutions, but by placing an emphasis on research alone when it comes to promotion, that leaves female professors behind.

The good news is that parenting has an impact of only a few months' delay in promotion, both for men and women, but the bad news is that men report greater overall job satisfaction. MLA's report also comes with some recommendations for institutions, so it's worth reading the key findings (PDF).

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