The Status of Women in the Historical Profession, 2005
1. Robert B. Townsend, "The Status of Women and Minorities in the History Profession," Perspectives (April 2002). See also, Robert B. Townsend, "Number of History Ph.D.'s Inches Upward," Perspectives (January 2004).
2. For example, the U.S. Department of Education's National Center for Education Statistics began gathering profession-wide information about postsecondary faculty with a comprehensive survey in 1988, and followed with similar surveys in 1993 and 1999. The most recent set of data and a description of trends are reported in the U.S. Department of Education, National Center for Education Statistics, Gender and Racial/Ethnic Differences in Salary and Other Characteristics of Postsecondary Faculty: Fall 1998 (NCES 2002170), by Ellen M. Bradburn and Anna C. Sikora, project officer Linda J. Zimbler, available online at http://nces.ed.gov/pubsearch/pubsinfo.asp?pubid=2002170. Summarizing their findings for the postsecondary professorate as a whole, the report's authors noted that "overall, men's salaries were about 28 percent higher than women's salaries: full-time male faculty averaged about $61,700 in base salary from the institution in 1998, compared with $48,400 for full-time female faculty." And this discrepancy was not purely a matter of different job conditions between men and women: "After controlling for race, type of institution, teaching field, level of instruction, tenure status, rank, highest degree, years since highest degree, age, time spent teaching, number of classes taught, time spent engaged in research, and number of total publications or other permanent creative works in the previous 2 years, full-time female faculty members earned an average of $53,600 compared with $58,700 for men."
The NCES data leads to two important conclusions about women in academia. First, women professors of equal quality, position, and responsibilities still experience a salary discrepancy compared to men, and this discrepancy remained constant during the 1990s. Second, women across the post secondary teaching profession are more likely to be found in low-ranking and low-paying positions than in positions of higher rank or pay. Thus women are disproportionately represented at the adjunct and assistant professor level, as well as in the lower-paying institutions (private liberal arts colleges pay the least, followed by public 2-year institutions, and then public and private not-for-profit doctoral institutions).
3. As striking is the fact that in the academic year 197980, 25.3 percent of assistant professors of history were women; twenty years, absent attrition, one might expect to see women constituting 25 percent of full professors: Townsend, "Status of Women."
5. "A Study on the Status of Women Faculty in Science at MIT," MIT Faculty Newsletter XI:4 (March 1999).
6. Available online at http://www.historians.org/Perspectives/eib/spouse.cfm.
7. The Committee on Minority Historians is currently collecting responses to a "best practices" statement on the matter, see "CMH Calls for Feedback on MLA Committee's Statement," Perspectives (March 2003).
8. Article available on the AHA web site; an abbreviated version appeared in the October 2000 Perspectives. Four-year colleges and universities had the best response rate for this survey, so the percentages offered here reflect the realities primarily at these institutions.
9. "Guidelines for the Employment of Part-Time and Temporary Faculty in History," Perspectives (November 1998): 12.
10. The AHA's "Advisory Opinion on Age Discrimination" notes that despite having "received the same training as their younger colleagues and . . . benefited from more extensive life experience . . . search committees sometimes tend to be biased against those whose lives do not fit traditional patterns." The AHA strongly denounces any such discrimination as illegal and unprofessional.Last Updated: July 10, 2008 3:10 PM