Academic journal article Public Personnel Management

A Comparison of Gender and Gender-Related Issues in the Business Disciplines

Academic journal article Public Personnel Management

A Comparison of Gender and Gender-Related Issues in the Business Disciplines

Article excerpt

The industrial revolution changed the way the U.S. economy operates, and, with this change, more women have chosen to work and supplement family income. While many women continue to work in traditionally "female" occupations such as teaching and nursing, the most significant change has been the increased percentage of women in traditionally male-dominated professions such as law, medicine, university teaching, and managerial speciahies. (1)

By 2003, close to 60% of all women aged 16 and older were in the labor force. The U.S. Department of Labor has projected that this figure will reach nearly 63% by the year 2015. One of the most significant changes that took place in the 20th century was the rise of women managers. In 1900, only 4.4% of managers were women. By 1999, more than 45% of all managers were women, a tenfold increase. In fact, over the last 20 years, women have increased their representation in nearly all professional occupations. (2)

One of the professional occupations that has experienced a shift in female participation is postsecondary education. In 1983, approximately one-third of those faculty members employed in colleges and universities were women. By 2002, that number had increased to 42.7%. Similarly, in the business disciplines, over the same time period, female participation has increased from approximately 36% to 42%. (3)

Thus, the postsecondary education profession is no longer a strictly male profession. Yet, while women employed as college and university faculty have gained significant ground, career progression can continue to prove difficult.

Unfortunately, gender bias walks the halls of academia. According to AACSB International--The Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business (AACSB), women made up only 24.3% of accredited U. S. business school faculty in 2004. (4) Furthermore, the majority of female business faculty members held the rank of instructor. In 1999-2000, by rank, 11.9% of full professors were women, 22.8% of associate professors were women, 31.3% of assistant professors were women, and 44% of instructors were women. (5) More recent data suggest little change in this distribution. By the 2004 school year, only 13% of all full professors in business schools were women. (6) Additionally, the percentage of female deans at AACSB-accredited schools was only 9.1%. Therefore, it appears that the glass ceiling is capping the professional progression of women in academia. (7)

Fisher, Motowildo, and Werner found few women in the higher ranks of academia. (8) Despite the increasing proportion of women in the academic professions, a report conducted by the American Association of University Professors (AAUP) states that "substantial disparities in salary, rank, and tenure between male and female faculty persist." (9) Also, the promotion times for female faculty members are much longer. (10) Specifically, women take an average two years longer than men to achieve tenure. (11)

Moreover, while women have overcome some barriers by entering the academic labor market, they continue to be compensated less than their male counterparts. (12) For example, in 2003-2004, the average female full professor's salary was 88.4% of the average male full professor's, 93.0% of it at the associate professor level, and 92.3% of it at the assistant professor level. These percentages have shown to be remarkably stable. (13)

In an attempt to address these gender-related inequalities, universities and their related accrediting agencies have developed numerous rules and guidelines. For instance, a business school that is applying for AACSB accreditation is expected to show that "it values a rich variety of viewpoints in its learning community by seeking and supporting diversity among its students and faculty." (14) Additionally, U.S. court decisions have strongly motivated schools to consider adding diversity policies. Recently, an investigation of the University of California's system revealed possible gender inequities in its hiring practices. …

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