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Swimming Against the Unseen Tide

Title: Swimming Against the Unseen Tide

Link: http://www.swarthmore.edu/feature-archive-2009-10/swimming-against-the-unseen-tide.xml

Summary:

 We conducted a study to determine how male and female physicists are evaluated in the classroom and used videotaped lectures in which professional actors – two male and two female – played the role of a physics professor. They each gave a 10-minute physics lecture to a class of students that included blackboard work, a demonstration, and a question-and-answer session. None of the actors were trained in physics but all received the same preparation and memorized the same script.

We then showed each of 126 physics students the lecture by one (chosen at random) of the four “professors” and got them to fill out a survey in which they rated various aspects of the lecture using a five-point scale. The students supplied some personal information but not their own gender, which was noted covertly by the person collecting the surveys.

Professional Role Confidence and Gendered Persistence in Engineering

Title: Professional Role Confidence and Gendered Persistence in Engineering

Link: http://asr.sagepub.com/content/76/5/641.abstract

Summary: (abstract)

Social psychological research on gendered persistence in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) professions is dominated by two explanations: women leave because they perceive their family plans to be at odds with demands of STEM careers, and women leave due to low self-assessment of their skills in STEM’s intellectual tasks, net of their performance. This study uses original panel data to examine behavioral and intentional persistence among students who enter an engineering major in college. Surprisingly, family plans do not contribute to women’s attrition during college but are negatively associated with men’s intentions to pursue an engineering career. Additionally, math self-assessment does not predict behavioral or intentional persistence once students enroll in a STEM major. This study introduces professional role confidence—individuals’ confidence in their ability to successfully fulfill the roles, competencies, and identity features of a profession—and argues that women’s lack of this confidence, compared to men, reduces their likelihood of remaining in engineering majors and careers. We find that professional role confidence predicts behavioral and intentional persistence, and that women’s relative lack of this confidence contributes to their attrition.

Double-blind review favours increased representation of female authors.

Title: Double-blind review favours increased representation of female authors.

Link: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/17963996

Summary: (abstract)

Double-blind peer review, in which neither author nor reviewer identity are revealed, is rarely practised in ecology or evolution journals. However, in 2001, double-blind review was introduced by the journal Behavioral Ecology. Following this policy change, there was a significant increase in female first-authored papers, a pattern not observed in a very similar journal that provides reviewers with author information. No negative effects could be identified, suggesting that double-blind review should be considered by other journals.

A Study on the Status of Women Faculty in Science at MIT

Title: A Study on the Status of Women Faculty in Science at MIT

Link: http://web.mit.edu/fnl/women/women.html#The%20Study

Summary: (abstract)

In 1995 the Dean of Science established a Committee to analyze the status of women faculty in the six departments in the School of Science. The Committee submitted a report of its findings in August, 1996 and amended reports in 1997 and 1998. The Committee discovered that junior women faculty feel well supported within their departments and most do not believe that gender bias will impact their careers. Junior women faculty believe, however, that family-work conflicts may impact their careers differently from those of their male colleagues. In contrast to junior women, many tenured women faculty feel marginalized and excluded from a significant role in their departments. Marginalization increases as women progress through their careers at MIT. Examination of data revealed that marginalization was often accompanied by differences in salary, space, awards, resources, and response to outside offers between men and women faculty with women receiving less despite professional accomplishments equal to those of their male colleagues. An important finding was that this pattern repeats itself in successive generations of women faculty. The Committee found that, as of 1994, the percent of women faculty in the School of Science (8%) had not changed significantly for at least 10 and probably 20 years. The Committee made recommendations for improving the status of senior women faculty, addressing the family-work conflict for junior women faculty, and increasing the number of women faculty. The Dean of Science took immediate actions to effect change and these have already resulted in highly significant progress including an increase in the number of women faculty. This collaboration of faculty and administration could serve as a model for increasing the participation of women, and also of under-represented minorities, on the faculty of other Schools at MIT. This is an important initiative since, even with continued effort of this magnitude, the inclusion of substantial numbers of women on the Science and Engineering faculties of MIT will probably not occur during the professional lives of our current undergraduate students. The inclusion of significant numbers of minority faculty will lag for even longer because of the additional problem of a shortage of minority students in the pipeline.

Men’s and Women’s Intentions to Persist in Undergraduate Engineering Degree Programs

Title: Men’s and Women’s Intentions to Persist in Undergraduate Engineering Degree Programs

Link: http://www.springerlink.com/content/f24057vm20023n56/

Summary: (abstract)

This is a quantitative study of 493 undergraduate engineering majors’ intentions to persist in their engineering program. Using a multiple analysis of variance analysis, men and women had one common predictor for their intentions to persist, engineering career outcome expectations. However, the best sociocognitive predictor for men’s persistence was not the same for women. Men’s persistence in undergraduate engineering was predicted by their abilities to complete the required coursework. Women’s persistence in undergraduate engineering depended upon their beliefs in getting good grades (A or a B). In brief, women’s intentions to persist in undergraduate engineering were dependent upon higher academic standards compared to men.

Why So Few Women in STEM

Title: Why So Few Women in STEM

Link: pdf (134 pages)

Summary:

Drawing on a large and diverse body of research, this report presents eight recent research
findings that provide evidence that social and environmental factors contribute to the underrepresentation of women in science and engineering. The rapid increase in the number of girls
achieving very high scores on mathematics tests once thought to measure innate ability suggests that cultural factors are at work. Thirty years ago there were 13 boys for every girl who
scored above 700 on the SAT math exam at age 13; today that ratio has shrunk to about 3:1.
This increase in the number of girls identified as “mathematically gifted” suggests that education can and does make a difference at the highest levels of mathematical achievement. While
biological gender differences, yet to be well understood, may play a role, they clearly are not
the whole story.

Exploring the Color of Glass: Letters of Recommendation for Female and Male Medical Faculty

Title: Exploring the Color of Glass: Letter’s of Recommendation for Female and Male Medical Faculty

Link: http://das.sagepub.com/content/14/2/191.short

Summary: (abstract)

This study examines over 300 letters of recommendation for medical faculty at a large American medical school in the mid-1990s, using methods from corpus and discourse analysis, with the theoretical perspective of gender schema from cognitive psychology. Letters written for female applicants were found to differ systematically from those written for male applicants in the extremes of length, in the percentages lacking in basic features, in the percentages with doubt raisers (an extended category of negative language, often associated with apparent commendation), and in frequency of mention of status terms. Further, the most common semantically grouped possessive phrases referring to female and male applicants (`her teaching,’ `his research’) reinforce gender schema that tend to portray women as teachers and students, and men as researchers and professionals.