The Gender Gap in STEM Faculty May Persist for a Century

A new study, published in the journal Science, warns that it may take a century for women to achieve parity with men on university faculties in science and mathematic fields.

The study found that the percentage of all new hires in STEM fields has inched up very slowly since the beginning of the century and now stands at about 27 percent. At this rate of progress, women will not be half of all new hires in these disciplines until 2050. Even when equality in new hires is reached, the residual effects of unequal hiring over the preceding decades will resulting in a persisting gender gap in faculty positions for a least another generation.

The good news in the study is that for the nearly 3,000 STEM faculty tracked at 14 research universities since 1990, women are retained and promoted at levels equal to that of men.

The article was authored by Cheryl Geisler, dean of the faculty of communication, art, and technology at Simon Fraser University in British Columbia and Deborah A. Kaminski, professor of mechanical engineering at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute in Troy, New York.

Dean Geisler is a graduate of Carleton College in Northfield, Minnesota. She earned a master’s degree at Western Illinois University and a Ph.D. in rhetoric at Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh.

Professor Kaminski holds a bachelor’s degree in physics and a Ph.D. in mechanical engineering from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute.

Filed Under: FacultyResearch/StudySTEM Fields


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