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