Does Science Promote Women? Evidence from Academia 1973-2001

Donna K. Ginther, Shulamit Kahn

NBER Working Paper No. 12691
Issued in November 2006
NBER Program(s):   ED   LS

Many studies have shown that women are under-represented in tenured ranks in the sciences. We evaluate whether gender differences in the likelihood of obtaining a tenure track job, promotion to tenure, and promotion to full professor explain these facts using the 1973-2001 Survey of Doctorate Recipients. We find that women are less likely to take tenure track positions in science, but the gender gap is entirely explained by fertility decisions. We find that in science overall, there is no gender difference in promotion to tenure or full professor after controlling for demographic, family, employer and productivity covariates and that in many cases, there is no gender difference in promotion to tenure or full professor even without controlling for covariates. However, family characteristics have different impacts on women's and men's promotion probabilities. Single women do better at each stage than single men, although this might be due to selection. Children make it less likely that women in science will advance up the academic job ladder beyond their early post-doctorate years, while both marriage and children increase men's likelihood of advancing.

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Document Object Identifier (DOI): 10.3386/w12691

Published: Does Science Promote Women? Evidence from Academia 1973-2001, Donna K. Ginther, Shulamit Kahn. in Science and Engineering Careers in the United States: An Analysis of Markets and Employment, Freeman and Goroff. 2009

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