Sunday, March 13, 2011

The Pyramid Problem

The Chronicle of Higher Education
March 9, 2011

By Mary Ann Mason
We know that women now receive slightly more than 50 percent of the Ph.D.'s awarded by American universities. So is it just a matter of time before women move through the faculty ranks and achieve gender equality with men in academe?
Regrettably not. Consider the pyramid problem. We measure gender equity in three important ways: representation on the faculty, pay, and family formation. Put simply: There are far fewer women than men at the top of the academic hierarchy; those women are paid somewhat less than men, and they are much less likely then men to have had children. At the bottom of the academic hierarchy—in the adjunct and part-time positions—there are far more women than men, and they are disproportionately women with children. Women in adjunct jobs have children at the same rate as men but receive the lowest wages in academe.

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