Academic journal article Management Revue

The Status of Female Faculty in the U.S.: Thirty-Five Years with Equal Opportunity Legislation**

Academic journal article Management Revue

The Status of Female Faculty in the U.S.: Thirty-Five Years with Equal Opportunity Legislation**

Article excerpt

The status of faculty women in higher education in the U.S. is reviewed from the early 1970s, when equal employment legislation became applicable to them, to the present time. On balance, faculty women's status has improved markedly. In the past thirty five years, women have made large strides in entering academic fields that were previously predominantly male, earning doctorates, attaining full time faculty positions at all types of institutions, increasing scholarly productivity, and in narrowing the gap in salaries and ranks. While some trouble spots remain, faculty women's status is much improved.

Key words: Women Faculty, Salary Equity, Academic Rank

Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 banned employers in the U.S. from paying individuals differently based on sex, but faculty were exempt from coverage until the Act was amended in 1972. Similarly, the Equal Pay Act of 1963 did not cover professional employees, including faculty, until 1972. In 1968 President Lyndon Johnson amended his earlier Executive Order 11246, which prohibited discrimination by all federal contractors, to include discrimination based on sex. In 1970, the Women's Equity Action League (WEAL) filed a class action complaint with the U. S. Department of Labor against colleges and universities in general under this Executive Order, forcing the attention of compliance agencies to the previously ignored sex discrimination ban in the Executive Order (Sandler 1973).

Since the early 1970s, considerable attention has been paid within institutions and in the literature in several fields, including especially education and economics, to the status of women in academe. Several review articles have documented the changes that have occurred over time on multiple fronts (e.g., Barbezat 2002; Bendey/Blackburn 1992; Toutkoushian 1999). This paper extends these reviews by including the most recent data available on the representation of women among doctoral recipients and college and university faculties, and examines employment trends in tenure track positions by type of institution, academic rank, and salary, as well as trends in research productivity of men and women.

Doctorates awarded to men and women

Table 1 shows the recent history of doctoral degrees awarded in the U.S. (National Center for Educational Statistics 2005). Both the total number and the percent of doctorates earned by women have increased tremendously over the last 45 years, with women now earning almost half of the doctorates awarded. Projections are for the percent of doctoral degrees awarded to women to gradually increase a bit over the next decade, pulling even with men in 2012-13, and then pulling slightly ahead

However, women have historically been clustered in the "soft" fields, e.g., the humanities and social sciences, and some of the professions such as social work and nursing, while being relatively poorly represented in the "hard" fields such as science and mathematics, and other professions, such as law and medicine. Thus it is important to look at women's representation among doctorates by discipline to see if it has become closer to equal over time. Table 2, which expands and updates Table 2 in Toutkoushian (1999), provides a history of doctorates by sex by field from 1970-71 through 2002-03.

In 1970-71, women earned less than one-quarter of the doctorates in most fields and less than 10% in Agriculture, Architecture, Business, Computer Science, Engineering, Mathematics and the Physical Sciences (National Center for Education Statistics 2005). By 2002-03 the percentage of women in all these areas except math was substantially higher than the percentage of baccalaureate degrees earned by women had been in 1970-71. For example, the share of baccalaureates in agriculture earned by women had been 4% compared to 36% of the recent PhDs. Similar comparisons for the other fields were 14% and 45% in Architecture, 29% and 46% in Biology, 9% and 34% in Business, 14% and 21% in Computer Science, . …

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