Marriage a disadvantage for female academics, suggests study

A new report from the American Historical Association provides fresh evidence of the impact of marital status and gender on academic careers.

January 27, 2013

Deputy director Robert Townsend surveyed over 2,000 history professors and released his analysis of the data earlier this month in Perspectives on History. The figures, he writes in “Gender and Success in Academia”, provide “ample evidence that women and men often take separate journeys to the upper ranks of academia”.

While men who were married or had once been married won promotion from associate to full professor slightly faster than those who remained single (6.4 versus 5.9 years), the pattern for women was reversed. Those who had never been married were promoted in an average of 6.7 years. For those now or once married, it took an extra 1.1 years to make the same step.

There were also significant differences in the ways the male and female professors used their time.

Dr Townsend notes that “women historians reported a much larger allocation of time to child and elder care than their male counterparts” (13.6 versus 9.1 hours per week, in the case of associate professors).

Women “also allocated about 10 percent more of their time to teaching and instruction-related activities”, while “male historians reported spending significantly more time per week on research” - often the key to fast-track promotion.

Satisfaction levels also revealed an interesting pattern.

In areas such as job security where satisfaction is generally high, Dr Townsend found little difference between the two sexes. Yet “on questions where at least 10 percent of the male respondents indicated some level of dissatisfaction [eg opportunities for job advancement within their institution], women reported significantly higher levels of dissatisfaction”.

One respondent put the blame on “a department culture that valued ‘civility’…used as a way of silencing female professors with ideas about new ways of getting things done”.

matthew.reisz@tsleducation.com

You've reached your article limit

Register to continue

Registration is free and only takes a moment. Once registered you can read a total of 6 articles each month, plus:

  • Sign up for the editor's highlights
  • Receive World University Rankings news first
  • Get job alerts, shortlist jobs and save job searches
  • Participate in reader discussions and post comments
Register

Have your say

Log in or register to post comments

Featured Jobs

Vice Principal DURHAM UNIVERSITY
Reader/Professor of Race and Education LEEDS BECKETT UNIVERSITY
Professor of Teacher Education LEEDS BECKETT UNIVERSITY

Most Commented

question marks PhD study

Selecting the right doctorate is crucial for success. Robert MacIntosh and Kevin O'Gorman share top 10 tips on how to pick a PhD

Pencil lying on open diary

Requesting a log of daily activity means that trust between the institution and the scholar has broken down, says Toby Miller

India, UK, flag

Sir Keith Burnett reflects on what he learned about international students while in India with the UK prime minister

Application for graduate job
Universities producing the most employable graduates have been ranked by companies around the world in the Global University Employability Ranking 2016
Construction workers erecting barriers

Directly linking non-EU recruitment to award levels in teaching assessment has also been under consideration, sources suggest