References on Chilly Climate for Women Faculty in Academe

Jennifer Freyd, Psychology, University of Oregon
JQ Johnson, Library, University of Oregon


  1. General Chilly Climate References
  2. Bias in Student Evaluations
  3. Bias in Hiring and Evaluation
  4. Balancing academic and personal responsibilities
  5. Pay Inequity
  6. Bias in Peer Review
  7. Some Further Analysis
  8. Related Online Resources


Sandler and Hall (1986) write:

In one study, first done in 1968 and then replicated in 1983, college students were asked to rate identical articles to specific criteria. The authors' names attached to the articles were clearly male or female, but were reversed for each group of raters: what one group thought had been written by a male, the second group thought had been written by a female, and vice versa. Articles supposedly written by women were consistently ranked lower than when the very same articles were thought to have been written by a male. In a similar study, department chairs were asked to make hypothetical hiring decisions and to assign faculty rank on the basis of vitae. For vitae with male names, chairs recommended the rank of associate professor; however, the identical vita with a female name merited only the rank of assistant professor. These and many other studies show that in academe as in other settings the same professional accomplishments are seen as superior in quality and worthy of higher rewards when attributed to men than when they are attributed to women.

Bias and discrimination are still with us, as shown in a wide variety of studies of women in academe. A quotation from Academe Today (22 May 1997):

A glance at today's issue of "Nature": Swedish study finds sexism in peer review
Why do few women hold high academic positions in biomedicine? Among the many theories is the view that women are less productive than men. But Christine Wenneras and Agnes Wold, two researchers at Sweden's Goteborg University, found that the peer-review system was to blame. The researchers examined the peer-review system of the Swedish Medical Research Council and compared the productivity of male and female scientists with the scores they had received in applications for postdoctoral fellowships. The reviewers, they found, had consistently given female applicants lower scores than equally productive men. In some cases, they found that female applicants would have had to publish three extra papers in "Nature" or "Science," or 20 extra papers in less-prestigious journals, to be ranked the same as male applicants. "If gender discrimination of the magnitude we have observed is operative in the peer-review systems of other research councils and grant-awarding organizations, and in countries other than Sweden," they write, that could account for the discrepancy.

Gender bias and discrimination against women in academia take many forms, from overt sexual harassment to the much more ubiquitous and insidious problem of subtle and unconscious sexism impacting daily life, work distribution, student evaluations, and promotion and hiring decisions. This confluence of problems has been called the problem of the "chilly climate."

One error people make is assuming that gender bias and discrimination require a conscious sexist ideology or a conscious attempt to discriminate against women. In fact, however, psychological science has overwhelmingly demonstrated that sexist behaviors, gender bias, and discrimination can and do occur without these conscious beliefs or attempts to discriminate.

A second error people often make is believing that discrimination is "out there" but not "here" -- that is, that gender bias is in other environments than one's very own department or university. It is very hard to discern gender bias in individual cases, while in aggregate analyses that it is operating may be an unavoidable conclusion.

A third error is the belief that bias, though present, is negligible in effect. The problem with this is that a large number of nearly negligible effects all working in the same direction can easily cumulate to very significant aggregate discrimination.

It is thus important to ask whether the bias occurs, despite one's own beliefs that it is not occurring or that no one intends for it to be occurring. Although many systematic studies have demonstrated the empirical reality of the phenomena underlying the chilly climate, much of this research remains outside of mainstream awareness. For instance, although many studies have documented biases in student evaluations, only rarely do promotion committees explicitly take this fact into consideration.

This page contains our selected references primarily to published empirical studies about chilly climate or related phenomena for women faculty. Our hope is that this resource will be useful and educative to students, faculty, and administrators.

General Chilly Climate References

Acker, Sandra & Feuerverger, Grace (1996). Doing good and feeling bad: the work of women university teachers, Cambridge Journal of Education, 26(3): 401-422.

Aisenberg, N., and Harrington, M. (1988). Women of Academe: Outsiders in the Sacred Grove. Amherst: The University of Massachusetts Press.

Bagilhole, B. (1993). How to keep a good woman down: an investigation of the role of institutional factors in the process of discrimination against women academics, British Journal of Sociology of Education, 14: 261-74.

Barres, B. (2006). Does gender matter? Nature, 442, 133-136.

Bird, S., Litt, J., & Wang, Y. (2004). Creating status of women reports: Institutional housekeeping as "women's work." NWSA Journal, 16( 1), 194- 206.

Blakemore, J. E. O., Switzer, J. Y, DiIorio, J. A., & Fairchild, D. L. (1997). "Exploring the Campus Climate for Women Faculty." in Niki Benokraitis (Ed), Subtle Sexism. Sage, 1997.

Bluestone, H. H., Stokes, A., and Kuba, S.(1996). Toward an integrated program design: Evaluating the status of diversity training in a graduate school curriculum. Professional Psychology: Research and Practice, 27(4). 394-400.

Callister, R. R. (2006). The impact of gender and department climate on job satisfaction and intentions to quit for faculty in science and engineering fields. Journal of Technology Transfer, 31, 367-375.

Caplan, P.J. (1994). Lifting a Ton of Feathers: A Woman's Guide to Surviving the Academic World. University of Toronto Press.

Carr, J. Z., Schmidt, A. M., Ford, J. K., & DeShon, R. P. (2003). Climate perceptions matter: A meta-analytic path analysis relating molar climate, cognitive and affective states, and individual level work outcomes. Journal of Applied Psychology, 88(4), 605- 619.

Chilly Collective (Eds.) (1995). Breaking Anonymity: the chilly climate for women faculty. Waterloo, Ontario: Wilfred Laurier University Press.

Collins, Lynn H. (1998). Competition and contact: The dynamics behind resistance to affirmative action in academe. In Collins, Lynn H., Chrisler, Joan C., et al. (Eds.), Career strategies for women in academe: Arming Athena (pp. 45-79). Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage Publications, Inc.

Davis, Diane E., & Astin, Helen S. (1990). Life cycle, career patterns and gender stratification in academe: Breaking myths and exposing truths. In Suzanne Stiver Lie & Virginia O'Leary (Eds.), Storming the tower: Women in the academic world (pp. 89-107). London: Kogan Page.

Ellemers, N., van den Heuvel, H., de Gilder, D., Maass, A., & Bonvini, A. (2004). The underrepresentation of women in science: Differential commitment or the queen bee syndrome? British Journal of Social Psychology, 43, 315-338.

Feldthusen, Bruce. (1991). The gender wars: "Where the boys are". In The Chilly Climate Collective (Eds.), Breaking anonymity: The chilly climate for women faculty (pp. 279-313). Waterloo, ON: Wilfrid Laurier University Press.

Hall, R. M. & Sandler, B. R. (1982). The classroom climate: A chilly one for women? Included in the "Student Climate Issues Packet," available from the Project on the Status and Education of Women, Association of American Colleges, 1818 R St. NW, Washington, D.C. 20009.

Hopkins, Nancy (11 June 1999). MIT and Gender Bias: Following Up on Victory. Chronicle of Higher Education 45(40). On line at (15 October 2001).

Holloway, Marguerite (1993). A lab of her own. Scientific American, 269 (5) [November 1993], 94-102.

Janz, Teresa A. & Pyke, Sandra W. (2000). A Scale to assess student perceptions of academic climates. Canadian Journal of Higher Education, 30 (1), pp. 89-122.

Johnsrud, L.K., Atwater, C.D. (1993). Scaffolding the ivory tower: building supports for faculty new to the academy. CUPA Journal, Spring 1993, 1-14.

Kite, M. E., Russo, N. F., Brehm, S. S., Fouad, N. A., Iijima Hall, C. C., Shibley Hyde, J., & Puryear Keita, G. (2001). Women psychologists in academe: Mixed progress, unwarranted complacency. American Psychologist, 56, 1080-1098.

Krefting, L. A. (2003). Intertwined discourses of merit and gender: Evidence from academic employment in the USA. Gender, Work & Organization, 10(2), 260-278.

Lie, Suzanne Stiver, and O'Leary, Virginia E., editors (1990). Storming the Tower: Women in the Academic World. New York: Nichols/GP Publishing.

Martinez, E. D., Botos, J., Dohoney, K. M., Geiman, T. M., Kolla, S. S., Olivera, A., Rayasam, G. V., Stavreva, D. A., & Cohen-Fix, O. (2007). Falling off the academic bandwagon: Women are more likely to quit at the postdoc to principal investigator transition. EMBO reports, 8, 977-981.

Massachusetts Institute of Technology (1999). A Study on the Status of Women Faculty in Science at MIT. The MIT Faculty Newsletter, XI (4), March 1999. On line at (15 October 2001).

Menges, Robert J., & Exum, Willliam H. (1983). Barriers to the progress of women and minority faculty. Journal of Higher Education, 54, 123-144.

Miner-Rubino, K., & Cortina, L. M. (2004). Working in a context of hostility toward women: Implications for employees' well-being. Journal of Occupational Health Psychology, 9(2), 107- 122.

Morley, L. & V. Walsh (eds) (1995). Feminist Academics: creative agents for change. London: Taylor & Francis.

Murphy, M. C., Steel, C. M., & Gross, J. J. (2007). Signaling threat: How situational cues affect women in math, science, and engineering settings. Psychological Science, 13, 879-885.

National Science Foundation, Division of Science Resources Statistics. (2004). Women, minorities, and persons with disabilities in science and engineering: 2004 (NSF 04-317). Arlington, VA: Author.

Nelson, D. J., & Rogers, C. (2005). A national analysis of diversity in science and engineering faculties at research universities. Retrieved October 24, 2006 from

Ng, Roxana (1993). "A Woman Out of Control": Deconstructing Sexism & Racism in the University. Canadian Journal of Education, 18(3), 189-205.

Ng, Roxana (1995). Teaching against the grain: Contradictions and possibilities, in Ng, Roxana, et. al. (Eds.), Anti-racism, Feminism and Critical Approaches to Education,. Westport, CT: Bergin & Garvey.

Paludi, M.A. & Barickman, R.B. (1991) Academic and workplace sexual harassment: A resource manual. Albany, NY: State University of New York Press.

Patai, Daphne (1998). Galloping contradictions: sexual harassment in academe. Gender Issues, 16 (1/2) pp. 86-106.

Park, S. (1996). Research, teaching and service: why shouldn't women's work count? Journal of Higher Education, 67: 47-84.

Ponterotto, Joseph G. (1990). Racial/ethnic minority and women students in higher education: A status report. New directions for Student Services, 52, 45-59.

Prentice, Susan (2000). The Conceptual Politics of Chilly Climate Controversies. Gender and Education, 12 (2), 195-207.

President's Advisory Committee on the Status of Women, University of Saskatchewan (1991). Reinventing our legacy: The chills which affect women. In The Chilly Climate Collective (Eds.), Breaking anonymity: The chilly climate for women faculty (pp. 171-209). Waterloo, Ontario: Wilfrid Laurier University Press.

Riger, S., Stokes, J, Raja, S., & Sullivan, M. (1997). Measuring perceptions of the work environment for female faculty. Review of Higher Education, 21(1), 63-78.

Sandler, B.R., & Hall, R. ( 1986). The campus climate revisited: Chilly for women faculty, administrators and graduate students. Washington, D.C.: Association of American Colleges and Universities. [See <> for further information]

Settles, I. H., Cortina, L. M., Malley, J., & Stewart, A. J. (2006). The climate for women in academic science: The good, the bad, and the changeable. Psychology of Women Quarterly, 30, 47-58.

Settles, I. H., Cortina, L. M., Stewart, A. J., & Malley, J. (2007). Voice matters: Buffering the impact of a negative climate for women in science. Psychology of Women Quarterly, 31, 270-281.

Stake, J. E. (2003). Understanding male bias against girls and women in science. Journal of Applied Social Psychology, 33, 667-682.

Stalker, Jacqueline and Susan Prentice, Eds.(1998). The Illusion of Inclusion: Women in Post-Secondary Education. Halifax: Ferwood Publishing.

Tack, Martha W., & Patitu, Carol L. (1992). Faculty job satisfaction: Women and minorities in peril. ASHE-ERIC Higher Education Report #4. (Especially pp. 33-75.)

Theodore, A. (1986). The campus troublemakers: Academic women in protest. Houston: Cap & Gown Press.

Tierney, W. G., & Bensimon, Estela Mara. (1996). (EN)Gender(ING) socialization. In Tierney, W. G., & Bensimon, E.M., Promotion and tenure: Community & socialization in Academe (pp. 75-102). Albany: SUNY Press.

Tierney, William G. & Bensimon, Estela Mara (1996). Promotion and Tenure: Community and socialization in academe. Albany: SUNY Press.

Tierney, William G. (1997). Organizational socialization in higher education. Journal of Higher Education, 68, 1-16.

Tierney, William G., & Rhoads, Robert A. (1993). Enhancing promotion, tenure and beyond: Faculty socialization as a cultural process. ASHE-ERIC Higher Education Reports #6. (pp. 63-72).

Valian, V. (1998). Why so Slow? The Advancement of Women. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press.

Valian, V. (2005). Beyond gender schemas: Improving the advancement of women in academia. Hypatia, 20 (3), 198-213.

van Anders, S. M. (2004). Why the academic pipeline leaks: Fewer men than women perceive barriers to becoming professors. Sex Roles, 51, 511-521.

Wright, A. L., Schwindt, L. A, Bassford, T. L., Reyna, V. F., Shisslak, C. M., St Germain, P. A., & Reed, K. L. (2003). Gender differences in academic advancement: Patterns, causes, and potential solutions in one U.S. college of medicine. Academic Medicine, 78(5), 500-508.

Bias in Student Evaluations

Baker, Phyllis & Copp, Martha (1997). Gender performance matters most: The interaction of gendered expectations, feminist course content and pregnancy in students' course evaluations. Teaching Sociology 25(1), 29-43.

Basow, Susan A. (1995). Student evaluations of college professors: When gender matters. Journal of Educational Psychology, 87(4), 656-665.

Basow, Susan, & Silberg, N. T. (1987). Student evaluations of college professors: Are male and female professors rated differently? Journal of Educational Psychology, 79(3), 308-314.

Basow, S. A. (2000). Gender dynamics in the classroom. In J. C. Chrisler, C. Golden, & P. D. Rozee, Lectures on the psychology of women (2nd ed.). New York: McGraw-Hill.

Bennet, S. K. (1982). Student perceptions and expectations for male and female instructors: Evidence relating to the question of gender bias in teaching evaluation. Journal of Educational Psychology, 74(2), 170-179.

Brooks, V. R. (1982). Sex differences in student dominance behavior in female and male professors' classrooms. Sex Roles, 8 (7), 683-690.

Greenwald, A. G., & Gillmore, G. M. (1996, in prep). No pain, no gain? The importance of measuring course workload in student ratings of instruction.

Kaschak, E. (1978). Sex bias in students' evaluations of professors' teaching methods. Psychology of Women Quarterly, 3 (3), l35-l43.

Kaschak, E. (1981). Another look at sex bias in students evaluations of professors: Do winners get the recognition that they have been given? Psychology of Women Quarterly, Summer, l981.

Kierstead, D., D'Agostino, P., & Dill, H. (1988). Sex role stereotyping of college professors: Bias in students' ratings of instructors. Journal of Educational Psychology, 80(3), 342-344.

Koblitz, N. (1993). Bias and other factors in student ratings. Chronicle of Higher Education, September 1, 1993, B3.

Martin, Elaine (1984). Power and Authority in the Classroom: Sexist Stereotypes in Teaching Evaluations. Journal of Women in Culture and Society, 9, 482-492.

MacNell, L., Driscoll, A., & Hunt, A. N. (2014). What’s in a Name: Exposing Gender Bias in Student Ratings of Teaching. Innovative Higher Education, 1-13.

Miller, J., & Chamberlin, M. (2000).Women are teachers, men are professors: A study of student perceptions. Teaching Sociology, 28, 283-299.

Moore, Melanie (1997). Student resistance to course content: Reactions to the gender of the messenger. Teaching Sociology 25(2), 128-33.

Sandler, B. R. (1991). Women faculty at work in the classroom, or why it still hurts to be a woman in labor. Communication Education (January), 6-15.

Schuster, M. R., & Van Dyne, S. R. (1985). The changing classroom. In M. R. Schuster & S. R. Van Dyne (Eds.), Women's place in the academy, (pp. 161-171). Totowa, New Jersey: Rowman & Allanheld.

Statham, A., Richardson, L., & Cook, J. (1991). Gender and university teaching: A negotiated difference: SUNY Press.

Bias in Hiring and Evaluation

(for bias in student ratings see section above). Studies examining sex bias in evaluation of performance that may be relevant to the situation for women faculty:

Butler, D., & Geis, F. L. (1990). Nonverbal affect responses to male and female leaders: Implications for leadership evaluations. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 58, 48-59.

Deaux, K. & Farris, E. (1977). Attributing causes for one's own performance: The effects of sex, norms, and outcome. Journal of Research in Personality, 11, 59-72.

Deaux, K. &Taynor, J. (1973). Evaluation of male and female ability: Bias works two ways. Psychological Reports, 32, 261-262.

Deaux, K., & Emswiller, T. (1974). Explanations of successful performance on sex-linked tasks. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 29, 80-85.

Eagly, A. H., & Karau, S. J. (2002). Role congruity theory of prejudice toward female leaders. Psychological Review, 109, 573-598.

Fidell, L.S. (1970). Empirical verification of sex discrimination in hiring practices in psychology. American Psychologist, 25, 1094-1098.

Geis, F.L,. Carter, M.R. and Butler, D.J. (1982). Research on Seeing and Evaluating People, Office of Women's Affairs, University of Delaware, 1982.

Goldberg, P.A. (1968). Are women prejudiced against women? Transactions. 5, 28-30.

Handelsman, J. & Grymes, R.A. (2008). Looking for a few good women? DNA and Call Biology, 27, 463-465.

Heilman, M. E. (2001). Description and prescription: How gender stereotypes prevent women's ascent up the organizational ladder. Journal of Social Issues, 57, 657-674.

Heilman, M. E., Wallen, A. S., Fuchs, D., & Tamkins, M. M. (2004). Penalties for success: Reactions to women who succeed at male gender-typed tasks. Journal of Applied Psychology, 89, 416-427.

Mai-Dalton, R R. & Sullivan, J. J. (1981). The effects of manager's sex on the assignment to a challenging or dull task and reasons for the choice. Academy of Management Journal, 24, 603-614.

Milkman, K., Akinola, M., & Chugh, D. (2015). What Happens Before? A Field Experiment Exploring How Pay and Representation Differentially Shape Bias on the Pathway Into Organizations. Journal of Applied Psychology.

Nieva, Veronica F. & Barbara A. Gutek (1980). Sex Effects on Evaluation. Academy of Management Review, 5 (2): 267-276

Paludi, M. A., & Bauer, W. D. (1983). Goldberg revisited: What's in an author's name. Sex Roles, 9, 387-390.

Steinpreis, R. E., Anders, K. A., & Ritzke, D. (1999). The impact of gender on the review of curricula vitae of job applicants and tenure candidates: A national empirical study. Sex Roles, 41, 509-528.

Swim, J. et al. (1989). Joan McKay versus John McKay: Do gender stereotypes bias evaluations? Psychological Bulletin, 105, 409-429.

Taylor, M. S., & Ilgen, D. R. (1981). Sex discrimination against women in initial placement decisions: A laboratory investigation. Academy of Management Journal, 24, 859-865.

Unger, R. & Saundr (1993). Sexism: An integrated perspective. In F.L. Denmark & M.A. Paludi (Eds.) Psychology of Women: A handbook of issues and theories (pp. 141-188). Wesport, CT: Greenwood Press.

Balancing academic and personal responsibilities

American Association of University Professors (2001). Statement of Principles on Family Responsibilities and Academic Work. On line at [5 Nov 2001].

Bhattacharjee, Y. (2004). Family matters: Stopping tenure clock may not be enough. Science, 306, 2031-2033.

Cole, JR & Zuckerman, H. (1984). The productivity puzzle: Persistence and change in patterns of publication of men and women scientists. Advances in Motivation and Achievement, 2, 217-258.

Crosby, F. J., Williams, J. C., & Biernat, M. (2004). The Maternal Wall. Journal of Social Issues, 60(4), 675-682.

Freyd, J.J. (1990). Faculty members with young children need more flexible schedules. Chronicle of Higher Education., February 21, 1990, B2.

Fuegen, K., Biernat, M., Haines, E., & Deaux, K. (2004). Mothers and fathers in the workplace: How gender and parental status influence judgments of job-related competence. Journal of Social Issues, 60(4), 737-754.

Hensel, N. (1989). Resolving the conflict: parenting and professorship. The NEA Higher Education Journal, V, 71-84.

Landau, Susan (1991). Tenure Track, Mommy Track. Association for Women in Mathematics Newsletter, May-June 1991. (Also reprinted in shortened form in the Notices of the American Mathematical Society, September 1991, pp. 703-4.)

Landau, Susan (1994). Universities and the Two-Body Problem. Computing Research Newsletter, March, 1994, pg. 4. (Also reprinted in the Newsletter of the Association for Women in Mathematics, March 1994, pp. 12-14.)

Ledin, A., Bornmann, L., Gannon, F., & Wallon, G. (2007). A persistent problem: Traditional gender roles hold back female scientists. EMBO reports, 8, 982-987.

Mason, M., & Goulden, M. (2002). Do babies matter? The effect of family formation on the lifelong careers of academic men and women. Academe, 88, 21-27.

Olsen, D., Maple, S. A., & Stage, F. K. (1995). Women and minority faculty job satisfaction: Professional role interests, professional satisfactions, and institutional fit. The Journal of Higher Education, 66, 267-293.

Riger, S., Stokes, J, Raja, S., & Sullivan, M. (1997). Measuring perceptions of the work environment for female faculty. Review of Higher Education 21 (1), 63-78.

Ward, K., & Wolf-Wendel, L. (2004). Academic motherhood: Managing complex roles in research universities. The Review of Higher Education, 27, 233-257.

Wilkie, J. R., Ferree, M. M., & Ratcliff, K. S. (1998). Gender and fairness: Marital satisfaction in two-earner couples. Journal of Marriage and the Family, 60, 557-594.

Wilson, Robin (2001). A Push to Help New Parents Prepare for Tenure Reviews. Chronicle of Higher Education, November 9, 2001, A10.

See also works listed in the L.C. subject classes "Women college teachers", "Women college teachers -- United States -- Family relationships", and "Work and family -- United States".

Pay Inequity

American Association of University Professors (2005). 2004-05 Report on the economic status of the profession: Inequities persist for women and non-tenure-track faculty. On line at [30 Dec 2007].

Balkin, D. B., & Gomez-Mejia, L. R. (2002). Explaining the gender effects on faculty pay increases: Do the squeaky wheels get the grease? Group & Organization Management, 27(3), 352-373. 

Burke, K., Duncan, K., Krall, L., & Spencer, D. (2005). Gender differences in faculty pay and faculty salary compression. Social Science Journal, 42(2), 165-181. 

Chronicle of Higher Education (1996). Average Faculty Salaries at 1,800 Institutions, 1995-96. 8 April 1996. On line in "Academe Today:Fact Files:Average Faculty Salaries":

Chronicle of Higher Education (1997). Average Faculty Salaries at 1,800 Institutions, 1996-97. 11 May 1998. On line in "Academe Today:Fact Files:Average Faculty Salaries by sex":

Chronicle of Higher Education (2003). Faculty Salaries [1994-2003]. On line at

Fogg, Piper (2003). The Gap that won't go away: women continue to lag behind men in pay; the reasons may have little to do with gender bias. Chronicle of Higher Education, 49 (32), April 18, 2003, A12. /v49/i32/32a01201.htm.

Perna, L. (2001). Sex differences in faculty salaries: A cohort analysis. Review of Higher Education 21(4): 315-342.

Travis, C.B., Gross, L.J., & Johnson, B.A. (2009). Tracking the gender pay gap: A case study. Psychology of Women Quarterly, 33, 410–418.

Unger & Crawford (1996). Women and Gender: A feminist psychology, McGraw-Hill.

[Also see section below with more about pay inequity]


Bias in Peer Review

Hojat, M., Gonnella, J. S., & Caelleigh, A. S. (2003). Impartial judgment by the "gatekeepers" of science: Fallibility and accountability in the peer review process. Advances in Health Sciences Education, 8(1), 75-96. 

Biernat, M., & Eidelman, S. (2007). Translating subjective language in letters of recommendation: the case of the sexist professor. European Journal of Social Psychology, 37 (6), 1149-1175.

Biernat, M., & Fuegen, K. (2001). Shifting standards and the evaluation of competence: Complexity in gender-based judgment and decision making. Journal of Social Issues, 57(4),707-724. 

Dvoskin, Rachel (2008). Nature editors reject peer review process that reduces gender bias. Scientific American Community (blog), Feb 14, 2008. On line at [8 March 2008].

Marchant A., Bhattacharya, A., & Carnes, M. (2007). Can the Language of Tenure Criteria Influence Women's Academic Advancement? Journal of Women's Health, 16(7), 998-1003.

Schmader, T., Whitehead, J., & Wysocki, V. H. (2007). A linguistic comparison of letters of recommendation for male and female chemistry and biochemistry job applicants. Sex Roles, 57(7-8), 509-514.

Trix, F., & Psenka, C. (2003). Exploring the color of glass: Letters of recommendation for female and male medical faculty. Discourse & Society, 14(2), 191-220. 

Wennerds, Christine, & Wold, Agnes (1997). Nepotism and Sexism in Peer Review. Nature 307 (6631), p. 341 (22 May 1997).

Some Further Analysis

Pay Inequity

Overall across all employment in the United States women earned 71.5% of what men earned as of 1993. This figure while depressing is up some since figures from 1963 (59.6%), 1973 (56.6%), and 1983 (63.6%). [Source: National Committee on Pay Equity, 1994, presented in Unger & Crawford, ]

Studies that have looked at pay for men and women holding the very same jobs also show inequities (e.g. Nieva & Gutek, 1981 [Women and Work: A psychological perspective, Praeger]; Kim and Johnson, 1984 [article in Journal of Social Service Research, 8, 61-70]).

An article on page 10 in the 5 May 1989 issue of AAAS Observer (a newsletter that was published by the American Association for the Advancement of Science -- publishers of Science magazine) presents salaries of PhD scientists and engineers by sex and experience, showing that as years of experience go up the pay gap increases in absolute dollars. Most importantly, this article presents PhD women's salaries as a percentage of men's by field in 1987, and shows that women psychologists earn about 85% of what men psychologists earn (with the average for women in all fields in science and engineering earning approximately 80% of what men earn).

A persistent disparity: graph from is consistent with the claim made in Sandler & Hall's 1986 report "The Campus Climate Revisited: Chilly for Women Faculty, Administrators, and Graduate Students" [Washington, D.C: Project on the Status and Education of Women, Association of American Colleges] that "at every rank, in every field, at every type of institution, women still earn less than their male counterparts." [As their source, Sandler & Hall cite Academe, 72(2), March-April 1986, page 10.]

Data collected by the American Association of University Professors (Chronicle of Higher Education, 2003; Fogg, 2003) indicates that, at all academic ranks and in all types of ranked institutions of higher education, women continue to earn on average less than men. The gap exists at all levels including entry level, and has been quite stable at about 10% for more than a decade.

During summer of 2001, AAAS surveyed for the first time its 70,000 members who work in the area of life sciences (Renuka & Mervis, 2001; Holden, 2001).

Among their findings relevant to gender:

Men earn almost one-third more than women: $94,000 versus $72,000. The difference is greatest among academic administrators, where the midpoint is $120,000 for men and $75,000 for women; in industry and government, the figures are $160,000 for men and $125,000 for women. Although gender differences in pay are notoriously hard to interpret, the report finds evidence that 'women are paid less for similar work even when type of employer is held constant.' . . . [B]y a margin of 36% to 10%, women report more often than men that taking leave for personal or family reasons is disadvantageous to their careers. (Holden, 2001).

Chander, Renuka and Jeffrey Mervis (12 October 2001). The Bottom Line for U.S. Life Scientists. Science Magazine 294 (554), p 395.

Holden, Constance (2001). General Contentment Masks Gender Gap in First AAAS Salary and Job Survey. Science Magazine 294 (554), pp 396 ff.

Holden, Constance (12 October 2001). Miniprofiles. Science Magazine 294 (554), pp 401 ff.

2009 Update

One of the most compelling recent studies of gender pay gaps is Travis, et al, 2009. Also see the Wiley Press Release about this article. From the abstract:

Results indicate that both regression and simulation methods provided evidence of a sizable pay gap associated with gender, even after controlling for rank, academic field, and years of service. The gap occurs in fields traditionally viewed as female as well as science fields with typically lower female representation.

Travis, C.B., Gross, L.J., & Johnson, B.A. (2009). Tracking the gender pay gap: A case study. Psychology of Women Quarterly, 33, 410–418.

Tenure & Award Inequity

Have we achieved tenure equity? According to Sandler & Hall (1986) ["The Campus Climate Revisited: Chilly for Women Faculty, Administrators, and Graduate Students" Washington, D.C: Project on the Status and Education of Women, Association of American Colleges] "the higher the rank, the fewer the women." They report that between 1972 and 1981, the percentage of tenured male faculty increased by 17.7 %; the percentage of tenured female faculty increased by 13.4%." Sandler & Hall (1986) also report that women have been less likely to receive tenure than men: 47% of women faculty are tenured, compared to 69 % of the men. [As their source, Sandler & Hall cite Academe, 72(2), March-April 1986, page 15.]

2008 Update

Handelsman and Grymes (2008) noted in their editorial ("Looking for a few good women?") published in DNA and Cell Biology [Volume 27, pages 463-465]:

Great women scientists are invisible until someone specifically looks for great women scientists. Then they are plentiful. But no one has to look for great male scientists. Great male scientists always appear on lists of great scientists. This phenomenon was illustrated with painful clarity in this year’s recipients of the Peter and Patricia Gruber Foundation’s awards. For the second year in a row, the awardees in cosmology, genetics, and neuroscience are all men. (p. 463)

Handelsman and Grymes discuss some of the many empirical studies demonstrating bias in the evaluation process that may relate to this disparity in awards. This includes bias in peer review (which can be greatly reduced through "blind" or deindentified review processes) and linguistic bias in recommendation letters. They conclude with four recommendations (p. 465):

  1. All journals should use a double-blind review process.
  2. For award nominations, if women are not represented appropriately in the pool of candidates, the director of the competition should actively encourage universities to submit women candidates.
  3. Selection committees should be briefed on the impact of unconscious bias.
  4. Chairs of selection committees should ask the committee to review its work periodically and consider whether the process has been fair, whether all candidates were held to the same standards, and whether factors other than quality entered into their decisions.

2015 Update: Bias in getting invited to be a featured speaker

The Chronicle of Higher Education: "To Be a Featured Speaker at a Scholarly Meeting, It Helps to Be Male" by Jennifer Howard. April 20, 2015


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