compared to 72 percent of men (calculated from data in footnote 3). There was no improvement compared to 1993, when 60 percent of women in science and engineering were in tenure or tenure-track positions, compared to 77 percent of men.4

If the category for which tenure is not applicable is excluded, 88 percent of men overall, compared to 77 percent of women, were tenured or tenure track. The sex disparity is similar from field to field and independent of women's representation. In psychology in 1997, women were 43 percent of the faculty in universities and 4-year colleges; 89 percent of men psychologists were tenured or tenure track, compared to 75 percent of women. In the biological and agricultural sciences, women were 28 percent of the faculty; 84 percent of men were tenured or tenure track, compared to 70 percent of women. In engineering, women were 6.5 percent of faculty; 90 percent of male engineers were on the academic ladder, compared to 83 percent of women. (All calculations are from data in footnote 3.)

In 1995 (the most recent date for which age cohort data are available), sex disparities in tenure and rank are evident even for scientists younger than 35.5 Looking just at the categories of tenure, tenuretrack, and not on track, we see that 3 percent of young women, compared to 6 percent of young men, are tenured; conversely, 36 percent of young women, compared to 20 percent of young men, are neither tenured nor tenure track. As with tenure, so with rank: 4 percent of young women, compared to 10 percent of young men, are associate professors.6 Since early career differences are limited by standard lengths of time to stay in rank, and since men and women tend not to differ in interruptions of service early in their career, the presence of small differences within the first 5 years of a scientist's career is notable.

For scientists between 35 and 44, the situation is worse: 35 percent of women are tenured compared to 49 percent of men; conversely, 20 percent of women are not on track compared to 13 percent of men. With respect to rank, only 8 percent of the women are full professors, compared to 15 percent of the men. Women even lag behind at the associate professor level, where only 34 percent of them have achieved that rank compared to 44 percent of the men. A portion of these differences may be attributed to greater interruptions in women's service. But it should be kept in mind that these figures are for full-time faculty at universities and 4-year colleges; thus, it is likely that parental leave accounts for at most 2 years of interruption. As of 1995, there were only small sex differences in number of years between B.A. and Ph.D.,7 so that age of doctorate achievement is unlikely to play a major role in the observed tenure and rank disparities.

For women age 45 and older, the situation is grim. Of scientists aged 45 to 54 in 1995, only 40 percent of women were full professors compared to 61 percent of men; 22 percent of older women were still assistant professors, compared to 7 percent of older men. For scientists aged 55 or older in 1995, 57 percent of the women compared to 84 percent of the men were full professors; 9 percent of the women were still assistant professors compared to 2 percent of the men.

The overall picture in academia is that women start out slightly behind men in rank and tenure and

4  

National Science Foundation (1996). Characteristics of Doctoral Scientists and Engineers in the United States: 1993, NSF 96-302. Arlington, VA: NSF.

5  

National Science Foundation (1999). Women, Minorities, and Persons With Disabilities in Science and Engineering: 1998, NSF 99-338. Arlington, VA, Appendix Table 5-10.

6  

National Science Foundation (1999). Women, Minorities, and Persons With Disabilities in Science and Engineering: 1998, NSF 99-338. Arlington, VA, Appendix Table 5-9.

7  

National Science Foundation (1999).Women, Minorities, and Persons With Disabilities in Science and Engineering: 1998, NSF 99-338. Arlington, VA, Table 4-46.



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