The Status of Women in the Historical Profession, 2005
Chapter 2: Formal Equality
Time to Promotion
Time to promotion, both to tenure and to full professor, also has a significant impact on salary. Women who take advantage of policies enabling them to stop the tenure clock for a year following childbirth or adoption fall behind their peers before tenure, and, as has become increasingly apparent, significant numbers of women find their careers stalled in their post-tenure years as well. With tenure comes increasing demands from both within and beyond departments—committee work, professional service—that those caring for children find difficult to balance with the need to produce the scholarship that leads to a second promotion. As a result of these competing demands, some women (and some men) find it difficult to get a second monograph underway—the gold standard for promotion to full professor in many departments. The issue of getting stuck at the associate level came up repeatedly in survey responses, and is of particular concern to women holding Ph.D.’s from the early to mid-1980s. Several respondents observed that their departments were less supportive of associate professors in pursuit of their scholarly and career goals than they were of assistant professors.
A number of women reported chairs’ reluctance—and even refusal—to bring women up for promotion to full professor, and, relatedly, their tendency to hold women to a higher standard of productivity than their male counterparts. Even women who had been promoted to full professor, recognized for their teaching and service within their universities, and received national recognition for their scholarship feel they have been hindered by gendered assumptions in their departments that they were not as committed to the job as their male colleagues.
Vigilant department chairs can help women progress through the post-tenure
ranks. Many women noted that the laudable goal of staffing committees with
both men and women insures that their service commitments will outweigh those
of men, given their smaller numbers on campuses. Minority women are the hardest
hit in this respect, as they are called upon to serve in proportions far
outweighing their rather meager representation on faculties. Chairs can see
to it that
the burden of service is distributed equitably, and protect associate-level
women against voracious institutional needs. They can offer such women positions
on important committees, where their service will increase women’s visibility
without further impeding their career progress.