ADVANCE-Purdue and the Center for Faculty Success A Department within the Division of Diversity and Inclusion

Research Update

This page provides the most up-to-date research findings on women’s underrepresentation in STEM faculty positions. Specific areas that we feel are important have been detailed below with references to literature in those areas.

Please note: The links provided are to the Purdue University library. In most cases, if you are working off campus, you will need to supply your Purdue University ID and password to access the articles listed below.

Women’s engagements in gainful employments have severe impacts on their work-life spillover. Care giving is one of the many challenges as encountered by today’s workingwomen. Care giving includes both elder care and childcare. Although the need for care giving is increasing in the modern world as families are becoming more and more nuclear, the primary responsibilities of care giving belong to women. The traditional gender-based norms that depict women as gentle, compassionate and loving impact the gender gap in care giving to a great extent.

Child Care:

Bainbridge J., M.K. Meyers and, J. Waldfogel. 2010. “Child Care Policy Reform and the Employment of Single Mothers.” Social Science Quarterly. 84(4): 771-791

Page, C., A. Reid, E. Hoagland and, S.B. Leonard. 2010. WellBabies: Mothers’ Perspectives on an Innovative Model of Group Well-child Care.Family Medicine. 42(3): 202-207

Freedman M. and K. Alvarez. 2010. “Early Childhood Feeding: Assessing Knowledge, Attitude and Practices of Multi-ethnic Child-care Providers.” Journal of the American Dietetic Association. 110(3): 447-451

Simonsen M. 2010. “Price of High quality Day Care and Female Employment.”

Bühlmann, F., G. Elcheroth and, M. Tettamanti. 2010. “The Division of Labour among European Couples: The Effects of Life Course and Welfare Policy on Value–practice Configurations.European Sociological Review. 26(1): 49-66

Elder Care:

Hashizume, Y. 2010. “Releasing From the Oppression: Care-giving for the Elderly Parents of Japanese Working Women.” Qualitative Health Research. 20(10): 1-15.

Henz, U. 2010. “Parent Care as Unpaid Family Labor: How Do Spouses Share?Journal of Marriage and Family. 72(1): 148-164

Feld, S., R.E. Dunkle, T. Schroepfer, H. Shen. 2010. “Does Gender Moderate Factors Associated With Whether Spouses Are the Sole Providers of IADL Care to Their Partners?Research on Aging: 20(10): 1-28

Powell, G.N. and J. H. Greenhaus. 2010. “Sex, Gender, and Decisions at the Family → Work Interface.Journal of Management. 20(10): 1-29

Martinengo, G., J. I. Jacob and, E. J. Hill. 2010. “Gender and the Work–Family Interface: Exploring Differences across the Family Life Course.” Journal of Family Issues. 20(10): 1-28

Understanding the situations of women and minority people in academia in general and in STEM academia in particular includes an in depth understanding of the workplace climate of the women and minority professionals. Climate is an abstract concept that is defined by inanimate aspects like office space, class room facilities, technological assistance etc. It also comprises of human aspects that relationship with the coworkers, extent of gender, race and ethnicity based discriminations within and outside the work units and, the nature of networking in the academic and professional community. Whereas supportive and encouraging workplace climate may enhance the work-life balances of women and minority academic professionals, adverse climate can deteriorate their work-life experiences.

Darisi, T., V. J. Davidson, K. Korabik and S. Desmarais. 2010. “Commitment to Graduate Studies and Careers in Science and Engineering: Examining Women’s and Men’s Experiences.” International Journal of Gender, Science and Technology. 2(1): 47-64

Davidson, V.J., W.H. Stiver, J. Newberry, L. Yuval, M. Hayward, and, M. Rohatynskyj. 2008 “Computer-based Design Tools in Engineering –steps to Ensure a Gender-inclusive Learning Environment”, Proceedings of the 12th International GASAT conference: ‘Challenging and changing the status quo’, B. Hodgson and D. Scott Fears (ed.), Albion Press, Brighton UK, May, pp.137-143.

Korabik, K., A. Brown, V.J. Davidson and S. Desmarais. 2008. “The climate for Women in Science and Engineering: Perceptions of Canadian Graduate students.” Proceedings of the 12th Conference of the Canadian Coalition of Women in Science, Engineering, Trades and Technology, May 29-31, Guelph, Ontario, Canada

Malley, J., J. Churchwell, J. and, A. Stewart. 2006. “Assessing the climate for doctoral students at the University of Michigan,UM Advance Project Institute for Research on Women and Gender. Ann Arbor: University of Michigan.

UNESCO. 2006. “Women in Science: Under-represented and Undermeasured.UIS Bulletin on Science and Technology Statistics, Issue no. 3, UNESCO Institute for Statistics

For the disciplines of science, engineering and technology to play a prominent role in the academic section of the U.S. economy, there must be the recruitment and retention of the best and competent talents from all segments of the nation. At present there exists significant disparity in the recruitment and retention of women and minority faculty members in STEM disciplines in the United States. In the past there have been a number of institutional interventions to offer professional developmental programs to address this disparity. But has the implicit bias been reduced? That is the big question.

Nelson, D. A. 2007. National Analysis of Minorities in Science and Engineering Faculties at Research Universities.

National Academy of Sciences, National Academy of Engineering, Institute of Medicine.2007. Rising Above the Gathering Storm: Energizing and Employing America for a Brighter Economic Future. Washington, DC: National Academies Press

Bienenstock, A. 2000. Workforce for the 21st Century: The Federal Perspective. Women in the Chemical Workforce: A Workshop Report to the Chemical Sciences Roundtable. Washington, DC: National Academies Press

Bayer Corporation. 2010. Bayer Facts of Science Education Survey XIII: Fortune 1000 STEM Executives on STEM Education, STEM Diversity and U.S. Competitiveness.

Committee on Science. 2007.  Beyond Bias and Barriers: Fulfilling the Potential of Women in Academic Science and Engineering. Washington, DC: National Academies Press

Encouraging faculty members with mentoring and professional development resources at all critical stages of their career pathways is significant to the success of the STEM faculty members, their students, and academic institutions. In science, technology and engineering fields where women and minority are underrepresented, programs and events which include career advancement, mentoring opportunities, can impact positively both the recruitment and retention of women and minority faculty members as well as enhance the motivations of the female STEM students to pursue engineering and technological majors.

Thomas, P.A. and D.E. Kern. 2004. “Internet Resources for Curriculum Development in Medical Education: An Annotated Bibliography.” Journal of General Internal Medicine. 19: 598-604

Morgan, L. A. 2000. Is Engineering Hostile to Women? An Analysis of Data from the 1993 National Survey of College Graduates". American Sociological Review.65(2): 316-321

National Academy of Sciences, National Academy of Engineering and Institute of
Medicine. 2007. Rising Above the Gathering Storm: Energizing and Employing America for a Brighter Future, Washington, D.C.: The National Academies Press

Preston, A. E. 2004. Leaving Science: Occupational Exit from Science Careers. New York, NY: Russell Sage Foundation

Robst, J. 2007. “Education, College Major, and Job Match: Gender Differences in Reasons for Mismatch". Education Economics. 15(2): 159-175

The underrepresentation of women and minority professionals in the STEM academia is impacted by the inadequate institutional policies. Gender gap exists in institutional plans and programs. Most prominent among these policies is the parental leave policy. At times these policies do not provide enough benefits to the women and minority members of STEM academia when they are about to have families, at other times the invisibility of the policies makes often creates a gap between the policies and their uses.

Kamerman, S.B. and Peter Moss (eds.). 2009. The Politics of Parental Leave Policies: Children, Parenting, Gender and the Labor Market. Bristol, UK: The Policy Press

Monosson, E. 2008. Motherhood, The Elephant in the Laboratory. Ithaca, NY: Cornell University Press

Hook, J. L. 2006. “Care in Context: Men’s Unpaid Work in 20 Countries.” American Sociological Review. 71(4): 639-660

Bygren, M. and A. Duvander. 2006. “Parent’s Workplace Situation and Fathers’ Parental Leave Use.Journal of Marriage and Family. 68(2): 363-372

Pettit, B and J. Hook. 2005. “The Structure of Women’s Employment in Comparative Perspective.Social Forces. 84(2): 779-801

There exists a constant under-representation of women in the science, technology, engineering and mathematics disciplines: both students and academic professionals. Gender-based stereotypes and the images of male domination in the STEM disciplines often restrict girls and women from selecting STEM-oriented majors and professions respectively. This underrepresentation is also true for the minority students and faculty members in the STEM disciplines. The scanty presence of women and minority members in the STEM disciplines is a severe reason for concern. It not only jeopardizes the diversity of the STEM academia but, also deprives the academia from novel and authentic ideas about learning, engagement and research.

Phipps, A. 2007. “Re-inscribing Gender Binaries: Deconstructing the Dominant Discourse around Women's Equality in Science, Engineering, and Technology.” The Sociological Review. 55(4): 768-787

Association for Women in Science and Engineering, (AWiSE).2004. AWiSE website. London, UK: Association for Women in Science and Engineering

Arnot, M. 2002. Reproducing Gender? Essays on Educational Theory and Feminist Politics. London, UK: Routledge Publications

Davies, B. 2006. “Subjectification: The Relevance of Butler's Analysis for Education.British Journal of Sociology of Education. 27(4): 425–438

Youdell, D. 2003. “Identity Traps or How Black Students Fail: The Interactions Between Biographical, Sub-cultural, and Learner Identities. British Journal of Sociology of Education. 24(1): 3–20

Employment plays a major role in impacting the work-life experiences of women workers. Situations are severe for the women and minority STEM professionals. The workplace demands and pressures have adverse effects on their personal and familial experiences. Thus, many women and minority students and faculty members leave their majors and jobs respectively in the middle of their academic career. This void is detrimental to the future of STEM disciplines across academic institutions of the nation as well as those in other countries. The participation of women and minority members in the STEM academia not only enriches the diversity of the disciplines but it also facilitates the development of a sound knowledge system based on innovative ideas and research projects.

Hall, L. E. 2007. Who’s Afraid of Marie Curie? The Challenges Facing Women in Science and Technology, Emeryville, C.A.: Seal Press.

Morgan, L. A. 2000. “Is Engineering Hostile to Women? An Analysis of Data from the 1993 National Survey of College Graduates”. American Sociological Review. 65(2): 316–321.

National Academy of Sciences, National Academy of Engineering and Institute of Medicine. 2007. Rising Above the Gathering Storm: Energizing and Employing America for a Brighter Future, Washington, D.C.: The National Academies Press

Rosser, S. V. and M. Z. Taylor. 2009. “Why Women Leave Science”. Technology Review January/February., accessed 15 April 2009

Stephan, P. E. and S. G. Levin. 2005. “Leaving Careers in IT: Gender Differences in Retention”. Journal of Technology Transfer. 30: 383–396.

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