Wednesday, April 18, 2007

A Short Note On Women in the Sciences

Alex Tabarok at Marginal Revolution

The Patriarchy at Work
Many studies have shown that women are under-represented in tenured ranks in the sciences. We evaluate whether gender differences in the likelihood of obtaining a tenure track job, promotion to tenure, and promotion to full professor explain these facts using the 1973-2001 Survey of Doctorate Recipients. We find that women are less likely to take tenure track positions in science, but the gender gap is entirely explained by fertility decisions. We find that in science overall, there is no gender difference in promotion to tenure or full professor after controlling for demographic, family, employer and productivity covariates and that in many cases, there is no gender difference in promotion to tenure or full professor even without controlling for covariates. However, family characteristics have different impacts on women's and men's promotion probabilities. Single women do better at each stage than single men, although this might be due to selection. Children make it less likely that women in science will advance up the academic job ladder beyond their early post-doctorate years, while both marriage and children increase men's likelihood of advancing.

You can see the whole paper by clicking through Marginal Revolution

12 comments:

Tara said...

To me this seems wrong. I don’t think that it should be even remotely based on someone’s marital status or the fact that they have children or not as a determining factor to weather someone gets tenured. The science field has predominantly been a field where men are more prevalent. What I really don’t get is why men have a better chance of getting tenured if they are married and have kids then women. Generally if a woman is married and has children it is a huge hindrance more then anything to her. Do they favor men more for having both a wife and kids because they feel that need to have the security of tenure as incentive for them to know that they will be able to support their family? It could be the face that they know men would be more likely to keep and stay that that school if they are tenured compared to women. I guess they are afraid to promote more women to tenure because they might quit to go raise their children. I find thins very unreasonable and think that they need to have more creditable reasons for giving or not giving someone tenure. I think that another reason why there are not as many women in the science field that are not getting tenure is because they see that not as many other women are receiving tenure and they do not want to go into a field where they stand little chance in advancing.

viper10 said...

This is another reason we need to see something done about inequality in the workplace. Now not only are women discriminated against in low level jobs and office jobs, but even at colleges and universities. These are places that are supposed to promote learning and new views on the world; instead we are teaching the younger generation that it is okay not to pay women the same amount as men, and if you feel like it you can keep them from advancing in their career. I think that is definitely wrong. If a woman is doing the same job as well as, or better than a man, than she should be promoted and have her pay raised the same as anyone else. This is not happening however, and women are becoming discouraged and feel that no matter what they do, they will never be at the same level as men. This is a way of thinking that must change. Women are just as competent and skilled, if not more so, to do the same jobs as men.

nbk01 said...

This one brings up an important issue which we discussed in class yesterday which is the idea that it is generally more accepted in today’s western culture for a man to sacrifice his family life for success in his work. The fact that at the end of the article it is noted that marriage coupled with children make it less likely for a women to move up in the academic ladder while it has relatively no effect on men is supportive of this theory. It doesn’t seem to be a rare occurrence at all for ambitious women to drop everything at once in their work life when they become pregnant. On the other hand, when a man’s wife has a child, it’s usually business as usual for him as he proceeds to continue with his normal schedule. Maybe this goes to show that Plato’s ideas of the forms have transcended into contemporary life in that instead of men immediately taking the role of father in these cases, they are instead continuing on in their true careers and as the bread winners of the family. Perhaps this could be looked at to explain the difficulty that women have had in gaining ground in the workplace over the years because of the way that a women with children must in effect multi task to be successful employees. Because some women’s true form is of a mother, they therefore would be a plague on the workforce and also to the city as a whole.

Sheena said...

A woman being able to gain promotions when they are single compared to men getting promotions when they are married is easy to explain. Women’s incomes are still seen as a second income. Employers who are hiring married men know that these men have a wife, and possibly children, to support and are more likely to offer the tenure track jobs and promotions at a quicker rate. Women who are married aren’t really taken seriously in the workplace. They are more or less seen as bad mothers if they are working instead of staying home and raising the kids. Its an interesting phenomenon, but people are getting more and more traditional in their thought processes and are going back to the old beliefs about the role of women and the family. People are falling back in to the mindset that the place for women is in the home.

Lindsay said...

I don't find this surprising at all. Women are still expected to be primary care-givers while men are expected to be primary bread-winners. Women who have chilren don't get tenured as easily because it is thought that their children will interfere with their work. It is still considered a woman's job to take care of her children, and therefore she is considered unreliable. A man, on the other hand, is expected to earn the most income for the family, and is not expected to have any type of involvment that may conflict with his job. People assume that a woman is going to choose her children over her job, and they assume a man will choose his job to support a family. It's completely unfair, completely biased, and completely wrong.

rashardtae said...

I think that this is true. From most of the females that I have been in contact with they have all expressed a want to have kids after they receive their bachelors. Most women want to start a family after receiving their first degree and not go back to receive their masters or doctorates until after raising the kids if at all. I think because of this it is the main reason why single women are a commodity and there are not a lot of them this is why they are promoted more than single men because they are needed. But, for a single man trying to get promotions I think it is hard. I don’t think people necessarily like bachelors in high positions. For some reason people look at bachelors as not being very responsible at all. So they feel that if a man has a family he take on more responsibility especially in politics. But, what if a president didn’t have a wife wouldn’t it be less stress for him not having to worry about keeping up a great relationship and just worrying about the country. But, how would you feel if you hired someone to do a job and they took off a lot to raise kids. How much work would that put you behind. How could you succeed if you kept hiring temp. workers and having to train new workers once a year. How comfortable could a person get.

osubuckeye said...

I can understand how children would cause women not to advance on the “academic job latter.” I’m not saying that a woman should not get a job because she has children, but that maybe she did not work as hard as someone else because of her children. Think about it, most women today still carry the traditional role of the one who raises the kids, and even if they don’t a lot of children still cling to their mother. With that being said, it may be hard for a woman to actually put 100% into a job, especially if she is putting at least 50% into her kids. And if I had to choose on promoting someone I would probably be more likely to choose the person that wasn’t distracted in a sense. Also, after clicking the link to read more, I’m not sure how inaccurate these survey’s are or if people are losing jobs or killing themselves over this survey. If this is really happening as much as the people act like it is happening then why is the medical school system re-evaluating how this survey is taken and what is put on these surveys?

clintbanks said...

I think Plato would have a field day with this issue. It addresses clearly whether a person, Plato meant men but we can apply it to women, can be truly good at two things. A modern argument from Plato would focus on the fact that you could not amply raise a family and be an adequate phD researcher, especially the upper echelon. You are either good at one or the other and that is where you should stay. Of course he would have a much harder time explaining away the fact that married men do much better at promotion and tenure track.
I agree largely with Sheena's proposition that females are still seen as the caregivers and the males as the providers. A married women is perceived as being ale to give much les time to the job than a married man, who supposedly has a caregiver at home, why else would he be married, right?
While this analysis might be wrong for employers it does make sense given our history and biology. Still employers need to look through their initial impressions which we all may get, and realize that the female's role whom you are considering may be non-traditional and a married woman may be just as good as a married man.

Hendrix said...

This is just another example that if a man has a wife and child the wife will stay home and take care of the child while the man goes off to work and has a better chance of obtaining work. For a woman it is different, there are not many men who are stay at home dad's. Women these days are expected to chose between a family and a career. If you want a family you must make sure they are takin take of first and a career is out especially a demanding career. When women apply for jobs and have a family they are less likly to be hired because the buisness world demands complete devotion to the job and it doesnt comphrend that women can be devoted to work and family at the same time. At least that is what people think. My mother has four children, a husband, and a mother who all live in the same house, yet she works sixty hour weeks at a hospital and co-owns three small buisnesses with my father. See women can do it.

Anonymous said...

No_Names_available

I can see what this article is saying. Women even still today feel more compelled to put their family first, even to a job once they have kids. Instead of making a decision based on what she would like, a women is more likely to consider what her family would like best. I am not saying men do not do this also, I see more men say this is better for the family, because he will be making more money to support them, even if it means they are away longer. According to our class discussion on Friday, the stress is now at home and people are working longer hours just to stay away from it. Someone has to take care of the family or it will fall apart. As the article said, I do not think that this is a matter of gender difference, statistics show women do better while single, and men do better while married…. What is the majority of people single or married? I would have to say; I would be the type of person to consider my family first. Not always should money be a factor, it is more important than ever to spend time with the children, because many are growing up in day care centers, not at the house they sleep in.

Joe Gray said...

Though we don’t see as much racism and inequality for sexes, its still out there and as long as it is, we should never stop fighting for equality. I agree also about how children can decrease the work mobility for women and how it does the opposite for men, it seems people have more respect with a married father than a single one.

kingkong said...

I think that this article brings up some good points about how even today some women still feel that they still need to put their family first before their job. Obviously the equality of jobs between men and woman is not exactly 100%, we still need to fight for it. Racism and inequality for the sexes has not fully gone away and is still out there. I feel that since woman feel that they need to tend to their families more then their job that it decreases their mobility in the work force and that for men it does the opposite. This pretty much means that men probably have a better chance of getting a job and advancing. But also in today’s society more and more kids are being put in daycares which means that woman are also getting those opportunities to get a job and advance and I think that is a good thing. I’m not saying that women can’t have a family and work because I think they are very capable of doing that. But if you do have a stay home mom it does give the father a better chance to prosper in a job especially since marriage and children increase the men’s likely hood of advancing in a job.