Study Finds That in the Academic World Women Perform More Service Work Than Men

A new study led by Cassandra M. Guarino of the University of California, Riverside finds that women perform more service work in the academic world than men. Using data from two national surveys the authors report that “women faculty perform significantly more service than men, controlling for rank, race/ethnicity, and field or department. Our analyses suggest that the male–female differential is driven more by internal service — .e., service to the university, campus, or department — than external service — i.e., service to the local, national, and international communities.”

The results show that women in academia are more likely to act as advisers and mentors, supervise clubs and other activities and serve on faculty committees. These efforts take time and reduce the amount of time women can spend on research and writing. This can hamper their ability to gain tenure or promotions.

Sara Thompson, a graduate assistant at the University of Maryland told Newsweek magazine that “women are less conditioned to say no to things. Maybe they’re in a staff meeting , and they’re told someone is needed to take on a new assignment. I’d imagine the ones most likely to be asked or eventually raise their hands are the women.”

Lead author of the study, Cassandra M. Guarino is a professor of education and public policy at the University of California, Riverside. She joined the faculty there in 2015 after teaching at Indiana University. Dr. Guarino is a graduate of the University of California, Berkeley, where she majored in English. She holds two master’s degrees and a Ph.D. in the economics of education from Stanford University.

The full report, “Faculty Service Loads and Gender: Are Women Taking Care of the Academic Family?” was published on the website of the journal Research in Higher Education. It may be accessed here.

Filed Under: Gender GapResearch/Study


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