Sexism in the Academy

Women’s narrowing path to tenure

Ceal Floyer, Ladder. 2019, aluminum ladder. 109 5/8 × 14 3/4". Photo by Ken Adlard. Courtesy of Lisson Gallery. © Ceal Floyer.

At each major point of the academic career path, there is significant hemorrhaging of female talent. In many countries of the Global North, women compose a little over half the undergraduate student body, which is only slightly more than the share of female doctoral students.1 It is after graduate school that the precipitous declines begin, as the number of women falls approximately ten percentage points each at the stages of assistant and associate professorship, so that finally the percentage of female full professors hovers around 32 percent.2 (In the European Union, the average share of full professors who are women is 21 percent.) This inverted pyramid is recognizable across academies in the Global North; even Scandinavia, despite its generous welfare states, conforms to the pattern. The few disciplines that boast large female faculties, such as education and foreign-language departments, tend to have the least prestige and are axed first during fiscal crises.3

While there were significant gains during much of the 20th century, feminist progress in the academy has slowed and may have already come to a halt. Since the 1970s, an increasing number of women have joined university faculties, but this obscures the fact that in the last thirty years much of that influx has been directed toward non-tenure-track positions.4 There are still two tenured men for every tenured woman, a ratio that increases with the prestige an institution has.5 In the US, the share of female full professors as a proportion of all female faculty remains stuck in the single digits, increasing only modestly since the early 1990s.6 In medicine, female first-authorship has either stalled or declined in the most prestigious UK journals in recent years, after substantially increasing since the mid-2000s.7 Among the most serious expressions of women’s hardship in the academy is the case of US black female scientists, who often experience desolate isolation in addition to sexual and racial harassment, according to a recent study.8 The proportion of black women among tenured female faculty in the US has actually fallen since 1993.9

Given that women have been the majority of the undergraduate student body in many countries for the last three decades, one can no longer argue that equality can be achieved by simply waiting for young female scholars to emerge at the end of the academic “pipeline.” “The increase in women at later stages of the pipeline is the consequence of a slow ‘pull’ provided by the expanding pool of women at the beginning,” the authors of a 2008 study inScience suggest, “not because of an effective ‘push’ that reduces attrition during career advancement.”10 Strengthening this push, however, means addressing the sexist practices that “push” men along the cursus honorum, because these practices tend to be the very same mechanisms that oust women from the academy. The zero-sum nature of this problem makes it difficult to discuss, let alone redress. Ugly small-brained misogyny explains only partalbeit an important partof this result. More insidious are banal sexist practices that reinforce one another to compose a vast ramshackle machinery that elevates men to the pinnacle of the ivory tower. This durable, unjust structure largely depends on the attitudes and practices of three social groups: male scholars, male students, and male romantic partners.

Girls grow up in a world hostile to female intelligence, but the academy is supposed to be a bastion against anti-intellectualism.11 It isn’t. In academia as outside it, female students tend not to receive their fair share of encouragement, and often they are confronted with outright skepticism about their abilities. In one experiment, reported by Corinne A. Moss-Racusin and her coauthors in PNAS, 127 US scientists were asked to hire an undergraduate lab assistant and decide on a salary based on fictional CVs of equally qualified men and women. The scientists were more likely to offer the position to men as well as more hours of mentorship, and gave a lower salary to women, about eighty-eight cents to the dollar.12 These early instances of discrimination matter because the mentorship of undergraduate students is often crucial in giving a young person the confidence even to consider an academic career, not to mention its significant role in securing necessary financial resources and social connections.


Scholars’ enthusiasm for male protégés extends into graduate school and beyond. One study found that referees tended to write shorter and less keen recommendation letters for their female protégées and were less likely to comment on the quality of their research.13 While another study of recommendation letters for men and women applying to faculty positions at medical schools discovered no marked difference in the length of letters written for men and women, male protégés were much more likely to be bestowed “standout” compliments.14

Skepticism of women’s talent appears widespread in the best labs in the US for life sciences, a discipline that has proved exceptionally resistant to gender equality, despite the large number of female students at the wide end of its academic funnel. In the 2000s, more than half of US PhDs in life sciences were awarded to women, yet only 35 percent of assistant professors and 17 percent of full professors were women at the top hundred US programs in 2007. An important mechanism that perpetuates male dominance in the field may lie in the relatively small number of prestigious laboratories, which train an outsize number of assistant professors.15 According to a study published in 2014, these “feeder labs” were much more likely to have an “elite” principal investigator (PI), who had earned a Nobel Prize or was a member of the National Academy of Sciences. Male PIs of elite labs were significantly less likely to hire female postdocs, who make up just 31 percent of their postdoc workforcea much lower share than hired by non-elite male PIs (38 percent) and elite female PIs (48 percent).16 This problem isn’t going away, as young male PIs were found to be just as sexist as their older male peers.17

The gulf in funding limits women’s participation in certain fields, punching more holes in the academic pipeline.


The problems of misogynist PIs and tepid reference letters may stem from the same root: the widespread assumption that only men can be brilliant. This view is prevalent in the hard sciences, but also in literature, musical composition, and philosophy. “As predicted,” noted Sarah-Jane Leslie and her coauthors in a recent article in Science, “the more a field valued giftedness, the fewer the female PhDs.”18 Philosophy is nearly off the charts in this regard. Yet not only do men not seem to believe in the possibility of female genius, they seem to doubt female competence. Such an attitude is not only demeaning, it also leads to the theft of women’s time.19 A supervisor’s command to “prove it again” (that is, run another experiment) often leads female scholars to be much more careful in their work, but also less productive as a result. This bias is especially pronounced against black female scientists.20

The “prove-it-again” problem manifests itself in the social sciences, too. In a very well written working paper presented at the American Economics Association conference in 2018, Erin Hengel argues that the best journals in economics force women to write 9 percent better than men.21 She tracked this discrepancy by measuring the degree of revision between first and published submissions. She found there was no discernible difference between the first submissions of young female and male economists; the margin of better writing was created during the editorial process by editors and referees. Although female economists end up writing better, they are not rewarded for their efforts, as their papers are accepted at the same rate as men’s. The gulf of good writing widens over the course of one’s career to 12 percent, either because women internalize this form of discrimination or come to expect it.22 In comparison, even as men age and scramble up the career ladder, their writing fails to improve at all; instead, they keep submitting the same poorly written mush as they did as young scholars. Again, one must stress the practical consequences of sexismthe extra labor required for better writing extends the publication process an extra six months, further decreasing women’s output relative to men’s. Men retain a tight hold on their prejudices: surveying a number of subdisciplines within economics, Hengel found that “the number of women in a field appears to have little effect on the size of the gap.”23

While in this case women must work harder for the same basic result as less competent men, in some instances they risk receiving much less credit for work they have doneor worse, others may attribute their efforts to men. The prejudice of male competence is blatant in cases of mixed-gender coauthorship, at least according to a 2017 study of US economics departments. The study’s author, Heather Sarsons, found that men reap the fruit of their labors when coauthoring an economics paper with women when it is their time to be evaluated for tenure, having an 8 percent greater chance at tenure for each coauthored paper.24 Yet their female collaborators gained only a 2 percent boost from such teamwork. The gap was less pronounced when women coauthored papers with other women.25 This form of misogyny is limited in its effects only by another misogynistic practice: according to a study of international relations literature, men rarely want to collaborate with women, while women exhibit no bias when it comes to picking a collaborator. Men, however, probably should write more often with women because, as Hengel showed in her study, “everyone writes more clearly when collaborating with women.”26

Stephen Ceci and Wendy Williams, who have published several influential but unjustifiably rosy reviews of academic sexism, find comfort in the fact that, when “comparing women and men with comparable resources, we find no sex discrimination in publishing.”27 Women have fewer resources for many reasons, but perhaps most importantly because they face discrimination when applying for grants. First, they are often less likely to get them. Depending on the funding agency, the gender gap in winning grants is about 7 percent.28 A Dutch study found a large divergence between women and men, even though committee members found no difference in their “quality of proposal.” The gulf only appeared when the funding panel considered the “quality of researcher.”29 Second, when women are successful in their grant applications, they usually receive less funding, about eighty cents to a man’s dollar; this gap matters because, as Reshma Jagsi and her coauthors maintained in 2009 in the Annals of Internal Medicine, “to the extent that women receive smaller awards, protecting time for research may be particularly problematic.”30 The gulf in funding limits women’s participation in certain fields, punching more holes in the academic pipeline. “Women publish significantly fewer papers in areas in which research is expensive, such as high-energy physics,” as Cassidy Sugimoto observed in a 2013 article for Nature.

Sexual harassment, in addition to its many other harmful effects, tends to retard a female scholar’s progress. This is because women often have to change field sites, topics, or even departments to avoid predatory men, diversions that eat up precious time for scholarship, not to mention the stress of such experiences. In 1997, a study found that among female medical students in the US who reported sexual harassment, 52 percent described their career advancement as having been hurt by the experience.31 Frequently in the academy the harasser is a postgrad’s supervisor, a situation that makes up a third of such incidents in US schools.32 The anthropologist Robin Nelson conducted a small, nonrandom survey of twenty-six US female anthropologists who had undergone difficult experiences during their fieldwork. Among other issues, sexual harassment caused delays in their research because “collaborators withheld vital information required for data analysis and publication. In other instances, respondents reported that psychological trauma from harassment or assault compromised their ability to revisit, analyze, and publish data collected under difficult conditions.”33

How much sexual harassment there is in the academy is difficult to determine, but one can be certain that it is extremely widespread. Several studies estimate around a fifth to half of female postgrads and faculty have experienced it.34 UK universities are suffering, in the words of the Guardian, an “epidemic” of sexual harassment.35 The extent of it first emerged when Sara Ahmed, the director of Goldsmiths’s Centre for Feminist Research, resigned in the summer of 2016. University administrators, she charged, had allowed sexual harassment to become “normalized and generalized.”36 Goldsmiths wasn’t alone, as sleuthing by the Guardian soon revealed. Universities across the UK had spent precious funds on nondisclosure agreements to buy the silence of victims as a means of “reputation management.”37 This allowed perpetrators to stay or leave with their dignity intact for another institution, where they could resume predation. It should be noted that faculty are just as vulnerable to sexual harassment as students. As one scholar at the University of California, Irvine told an interviewer: “I did not file a complaint. This is a very senior person on campus and under no circumstance would I have filed anything. Until you get tenure, you have to take care of yourself, basically.”38

What is more vile is that other men sometimes benefit from their complicity with sexual predators. Nelson and her coauthors discovered that “in many of these instances, respondents reported that other men appeared to be rewarded for what the respondent viewed as poor or inappropriate behavior and women were only rewarded if they consented to harassment or sexual advances.”39 Again, this is an instance where the same mechanism speeds up men’s progress, but hinders women’s. It is important in this context to recall that sexual harassment is less about sexual desire than the assertion of male power. As the human resources scholar Sandy Hershcovis told Science in 2013, “Men use sexual harassment to exert control, knock [women] down, or put them in their place.”40 Even when a woman does publish after so many delays and financial shortfalls, her work is much less likely to be cited by a man: in one study of economics articles, men were half as likely as women to cite the work of female scholars, while women manifested no such bias.41

In philosophy as in other disciplines, men have proven stubbornly reluctant to cite the work of their female colleagues.


There are many reasons for this, but it is partially due to the themes and approaches a woman chooses in her scholarship. In many disciplines, such as science studies, economics, philosophy, and political science, certain “hard” approaches (rational, abstract, et cetera) have been gendered male.42 Methods pioneered by female scholars, such as feminist critiques of science or constructivism in international relations, are seen by male peers as “soft,” and these peers are less likely to cite works employing such approaches. In fact, they can be hostile to the fact that such work is even being carried out.43

Female scholars thus face a double bind. In her discussion of this problem among philosophers in Studies in History and Philosophy of Science, Anna Leuschner remarks that “if women choose to contribute to areas dominated by men, they will tend to be careful and cautious and their work will be disqualified for methodological reasons. Conversely, if they choose to contribute to areas in accordance with their specific interests and can argue confidently, they will have to face thematic disqualification. As long as the work of women in philosophy differsmethodologically or thematicallyfrom the work of their male colleagues it is likely to be dismissed.”44 The outlook for this problem is bleak; in philosophy as in other disciplines, men have proven stubbornly reluctant to cite the work of their female colleagues.

This problem exerts itself not only at an individual level, where it stymies countless careers, but also at the aggregate level of the discipline itself, and thus society as a whole. The gendering of citation practices combined with the rarity of women in the upper echelons of the academy mean that fewer women are in a position to influence the shape of the discipline itself, leaving such power overwhelmingly in the hands of men. In a study of the five hundred most influential recent philosophy articles and the citation networks connecting them, only 3.5 percent were by female scholars, leaving whole islands of debate networks totally bereft of women.45

Women’s attempts to secure tenured positions in the academy are undermined by secretive informal networks that secure jobs for their members. Because they did not confront these networks, Danish universities failed to increase the numbers of female professors in the 2000s when they instituted an affirmative action program that paid financial incentives to departments. In the program’s aftermath, a 2016 study in Science & Public Policy revealed that nearly half of all openings for full professorships had only a single application because they were “closed” hirings or because even nominally “open” hirings had a job description tailored to fit a specific personalmost always a man.46 “The shortage of female applicants for positions at associate professor level may, for instance, partly be due to incisional pre-selection practices and the activation of informal network ties for recruiting candidates,” its authors concluded.47 A similar situation was found in Dutch medical schools, but at an even higher rate: 77 percent of full professorships were filled in a noncompetitive fashion.48 The author of the Dutch study drily noted that sometimes “candidates are asked to write their own profile.”49 Searches to fill job vacancies are conducted by “scouts,” influential white men who tend to select younger versions of themselves, perpetuating the boys’ club.50

Women are much more likely to succeed if the hiring process is competitive.51 In a study of tenure processes in Spain, researchers found that all-male panels were more likely to refuse tenure to a woman, but mixed panels were open-minded.52 The odds of success in an academic career are lengthened if a woman confronts both sexism and racism; in 2018, there were only twenty-five black female professors in the UK, out of the total nineteen-thousand-strong professoriate.53

The three main mechanisms for instituting academic patriarchy discussed so far could be summed up thus: one, men’s preference for men (whether for students, citations, or granting tenure); two, skepticism about women’s abilities (“prove it again”), which wastes women’s time by forcing them to do more work; and three, harassment, which diverts women from their career interests and is often a source of trauma.

A fourth category of sexist practices, which might be collected under the heading of “vanity,” may be ridiculous, but it is no less pernicious. Self-citation is an excellent illustration of this problem. A male scholar is nearly twice as likely to cite his previous work than a female peer is to cite her own.54 Self-citation builds up the base of a paper’s citation count, leading other scholars to cite that paper at a rate of about four new citations for every self-citation.55 “Attrition out of the academic pipeline means that women have fewer papers to self-cite and fewer later opportunities to do so,” noted Molly King, the lead author of a study in Socius that used JSTOR’s 1.5 million articles as its data set. “Men will have overall greater productivity throughout their longer careers (in aggregate). Differences in this aggregate productivity might cause or further exacerbate gender inequality in self-citation counts, resulting in cumulative disadvantage in apparent impact.”56 As men publish more often than women, the self-citation gap quickly erodes into a canyon separating men and women in terms of their overall citations. The gulf between the genders in their output of publications varies by discipline, ranging from 20 to 30 percent; hypothetically, then, this means that if a man writes eight papers, cites himself 1.7 times per paper, collects citations from others at the expected rate of four to every one of his self-citations, he will end up with sixty-eight citations. His female peer, however, writes only six papers (assuming a 25 percent gap), each with one self-citation, and is cited by others at the same rate, leaving her with only thirty. “Some scholars have suggested that self-citations should be removed when citations are used as indicators for research assessments,” remarked the author of a study on the problem. “One implication of the current analysis is that this may not be enough.”57


Self-citation is not a small issue, but rampant, composing a tenth of all citations across disciplines.58 Since the great migration of journals to the web at the turn of the millennium, citations have become easier to track, presenting committees a powerful, albeit distorted, means to calibrate a candidate’s intellect and influence. Such measurements can be used to decide if someone is hired, given a raise, or granted tenure. The mini scandal of self-citation, however, cannot simply be resolved by “lean-in” feminismsay, by exhorting women to cite themselves morebecause female self-aggrandizement frequently provokes a backlash, a reaction that tends to be especially pronounced against women of color. East and South Asians fare the worst in this regard, according to the study Double Jeopardy? Gender Bias Against Women of Color in Science, likely because such behavior upsets stereotypes of their passivity.59 Nor do men cite themselves more modestly if there are more women in their discipline; King found that “there is no significant correlation between the mean number of self-citations per paper and the fraction of men authors in a field.”60 The seemingly silly problem of self-citation illustrates how even small gaps between female and male scholars become magnified when myriad sexist practices operate in tandem.

Male undergraduates demonstrate a sharp bias against both their female peers and female instructors. In a study of three US undergraduate biology courses, students voted for their most intelligent peer during the semester. Generally the women gave a very slight edge to other women in their voting, but men favored other men by a nineteenfold margin.61 Such a divergence in gendered evaluative patterns has been observed elsewhere. This meant that a woman would need to have “over three-quarters of a GPA point higher” than a man to be nominated.62 In the study, an “outspoken” man (someone who participated in class) was always voted by his peers as the best student, even though many course sections had an “outspoken” woman who had earned as high a grade. The study’s authors reckon that these results, as skewed as they are, represent a “conservative case” because biology is considered a “soft” science. Most striking, perhaps, is that men’s prejudice became stronger by the end of the course, suggesting that sexism is an attitude reinforced rather than extirpated during one’s university years.63 Another study quoted several undergrads who shared the sentiment that “I didn’t know I was a girl until I came to Harvard.”64

Just as male students demonstrate a strong bias to support themselves as a group, male students overwhelmingly favor male instructors over female ones. This is important because student evaluations are one of the most influential tools used to determine the trajectory of a scholar’s career.65 In one inventive study, a female and a male tutor arranged an experiment during the online course they cotaught. As they were never going to meet their students, they divided the four class sections into two where they taught according to their true identity and two where they impersonated each other. The students gave the female instructor’s “perceived male” persona a significantly higher score than when she taught under her true identity, while the man’s score dropped significantly when he took on a female guise.66

Real life is just as bad. In a large study of about twenty thousand Dutch student evaluations, female PhD students who led courses were given a score 28 percent of a standard deviation lower than their male peers.67 A similarly large study in France confirmed this finding. French boys were 33 to 41 percent more likely to give an “excellent” score to male professors than female professors for certain metrics, like the ability to lead a class.68 Another study, published in the International Journal of Higher Education, revealed that male students were especially brutal in evaluating female professors who led large classes.69 Although the study’s authors don’t speculate why, it might be because men still assume public speaking is a male prerogative, leaving women as mere interlopers. (This brings to mind Mary Beard’s exhortation for feminists to “try to bring to the surface the kinds of question we tend to shelve about how we speak in public, why and whose voice fits. What we need is some old-fashioned consciousness-raising about what we mean by ‘the voice of authority’ and how we’ve come to construct it.”)70 Researchers found that students expected female teachers in medical schools to do more mothering than men, whether by promptly returning homework or caring for their emotional needs.71 When these affective expectations were not met, the spurned students harshly censured their female instructors.72 East Asian female scholars were especially penalized if they were seen as not being sufficiently maternal.73 Mollycoddling on demand, however, leaves women with less time for research.74 Furthermore, students tend to evaluate a female instructor according to how well prepared she is in the classroom, which forces women to spend significantly more time preparing than men.75 By comparison, students expected their male teachers to be charismatic and knowledgeable, traits that require much less preparation to perform. Again, the widespread expectation held by boys and men is that only boys and men can be brilliant.76

That female scholars are undermined by sexist colleagues and students is bad enough, but what is more insidious is how women’s careers are often sabotaged by their own husbands and partners, patriarchy’s fifth column. This group consistently pursues its own interests no matter the cost to their wives. A higher ratio of female professors are married to male professors than the other way around because there are more men on most faculties, and this ratio is even higher among scholars with tenure-track positions.77 This means that male scholars are much more likely to have a spouse stay at home and less likely to face the “two-body problem”that is, the difficulty of finding positions for an academic couple in the same town. The two-body problem is rarely decided in the woman’s favor, frequently dooming her to the precarious life of an adjunct, one of the “housewives of higher education.”78 Decisions as to where these academic couples end up are often made on the basis of pay, and women still earn around a tenth to a fifth less than men, a gap that varies by country. In the US, this gap has barely budged since 2006.79

Mothers with young children were 35 percent less likely to get tenure-track jobs than fathers of young children.


Yet financial considerations alone cannot explain why the careers of husbands tend to come firstmen’s selfishness is just as important. Most academic husbands simply don’t care very much about their wives’ careers; in a 2008 study, it was revealed that half of male partners considered their own careers preeminent, an opinion held by only a fifth of female partners. A woman was much more likely to say that her career was as important as her partner’s.80 This was true a majority of the time, even if women were making more money than their male partners, while the obverse was much less common.81 Another study in PNAS from 2014 showed that male postdocs were twice as likely as female postdocs to expect their spouses to make sacrifices in their careers to help them.82 In the US, female historians have resigned from their positions at almost thrice the rate of male historians to follow a spouse who had been hired elsewhere.83 None of this is inevitable. Members of gay and lesbian academic couples, for instance, are much more likely to consider their partners’ careers equally important.84

Men’s refusal to help their wives equally with child care can lead to very distorted outcomes. In one study of scholars in the sciences, mothers with young children were 35 percent less likely to get tenure-track jobs than fathers of young children, a gap similar to the one that separated mothers from childless single women (33 percent), as the latter largely kept up with men. Children slow down women, but have little effect on the pace of men.85 Given that so many female scholars drop out, they often become overqualified research assistants for their partners, which may be a reason why married men actually publish more than single men or women and achieve tenure faster.86 That men rarely make sacrifices to help their scholarly wives is possibly why so few tenured female professors ever marry or stay married. More than half are divorced or have never wed, and few have children. Yet 70 percent of their male peers are married and have children. Childless single women are actually more likely to get tenure than childless single men.87 One can speculate that the competitive pressures of the academic job market lead more couples to pool their resources into advancing one of their careers, and the married man is a formidable competitor.

Moreover, men with children can exploit well-intentioned policies for young parents, again increasing their advantage over scholarly mothers and bachelors. In the early 2000s many US universities offered to delay the “tenure clock” by a year per child for both parents. In economics, women tend to focus on child care and not get much academic work done, but men publish reams of research.88 The command for men to shirk their parental duty can even come from the top, as a study in Political Science & Politics found: “One Harvard faculty member reported that her department chair publicly encouraged male faculty to use this policy to get more time to produce publishable work.”89

Even the supposed promised land of gender equality, Scandinavia, is far from achieving true equality in the academy. Female faculty overwhelmingly reject the notion that there is gender equality in their universitiesan opinion held by 94 percent of Swedes. Denmark has a lower proportion of tenure-track female scholars than the EU average.90 While crèches, day care, and shared parental leave are important, men still have an advantage. As one Danish female scientist reflects, “I think younger men are still favored over younger women, because they usually don’t have long maternity leaves.”91 The problem in the academy comes down to men’s relative advantage over women, rather than any absolute gains women may make. As long as a gulf remains, women will lag behind in jobs, prestige, and pay.

Although young mothers tend to achieve tenure slowly, if they do at all, it would be a mistake to emphasize childbirth as an explanation for women lagging behind men. There are many mechanisms that ensure men retain their advantage in the academy. An emphasis on childbirth obscures the other causes of women’s plight, naturalizing a disparity that is overwhelmingly caused by male prejudice rather than biological necessity. Yet there are plenty of men happy to advocate for this self-serving interpretation. Elissa Cameron, Meeghan E. Gray, and Angela M. White put it best: “Perpetuating the idea that an academic career is incompatible with raising a family may itself contribute to the attrition of women faculty. Furthermore, this focus on maternal obligation, although contributing to the disparity, may cause us to dismiss other societal factors that result in a loss of women to the sciences. Our experience, supported by research, suggests that other, less easily parameterized factors contribute substantially.”92 There are plenty of factors more significant than the biological fact of childbirth for men’s continued dominance in the academy, but one should emphasize that they are more zealous about safeguarding time for research, they are skeptical of women’s competence, and they endanger and demoralize female scholars through sexual harassment.

Instead of looking to Scandinavia as a modelfor that model has failedone should look to 20th-century Turkey for lessons on how to strengthen women’s role in the academy. Long before women made inroads in the academies of Western Europe and the US, Turkish women had already established themselves as scholars, especially in disciplines typically gendered male such as STEM.93 As recently as 2002, the Turkish academy employed proportionately almost twice as many female full professors as the EU average, though since the early 2000s Europe has caught up and Turkey has stagnated under the tenure of the conservative AKP.94 Still, even as late as 2010, as Gülsün Sağlamer and her coauthors found, “in engineering, science, physics, statistics, mathematics, computer sciences, production, and construction the percentages of female researchers in Turkey are higher than EU21 and OECD averages.”95 (The only other countries with similar success were in the Eastern Bloc, like Lithuania and Romania, perhaps hinting at an equally fruitful socialist legacy.) The reasons for Turkish women’s success can be found in the ruins of the Ottoman Empire, where its successor in Ankara strategically connected the twin goals of a modicum of women’s rights and, more emphatically, a self-sufficient national university system. For generations, the image of a scholar in the public imagination has remained largely gender-neutral. Of course, Turkish society has hardly transcended patriarchy. An academic career is commonly considered, as the study notes, a “safe” choice for a “respectful Turkish woman,” and the academy has served as an outlet for the career aspirations of bourgeois women denied other options.96

How can one build on the already robust Turkish model? The first insight gleaned from the academic spires of the eastern Mediterranean is the need for a campaign of Kemalist proportions to root out backward thinking, especially among men. Courses on women’s history or feminist philosophy should be mandatory. Until male students are taught to reflect upon their biases, they should be barred from evaluating peers and teachers. Similarly, male scholars’ power to evaluate female peers and students should also be restrained. At the very least, mixed panels for a scholar’s career assessments ought to be required. Another lesson from Turkey is the need to relieve female scholars of the burden of social reproduction. Yet this success in Turkey has been predicated on oppressive class relations: as in most countries of the Global South, the Turkish bourgeoisie can afford to hire cheapoverwhelmingly femaleservants to relieve female professors of the burdens of cooking, cleaning, and child care.97 Instead of outsourcing this to the working class, a fairer solution would be the implementation of free state- or university-run crèches, day care centers, after-school activities, and canteens. Again, Scandinavia shows the limits of such solutions, but even if they are only a partial remedy, they remain necessary.

What are the ways, then, that such a male-dominated structure can be reformed? To start, incrementally rising quotas should be in place for hiring more female scholars in all stages of the tenure track. Leuschner has argued that “as soon as it is empirically proven that there is systematic discrimination in the hiring procedures of a community due to widely shared, self-reproducing biases, quota regulation appears to be justified to improve the situation.”98  There is certainly more than enough evidence to justify quotas. Other straightforward measures include making salaries public to help ensure pay equity and publishing referees’ reports to journal editors to reduce vitriol and bias. Spousal-hire programs could persuade more husbands to follow their wives.

Power seems to follow men, whose informal networks easily slink into the shadows.


Furthermore, recruitment, especially for the real prize of the academythe full professorshipshould be open and competitive. Once again, it is worth examining the Turkish model, in which, instead of operating through secretive informal networks, there are strict rules regulating the appointment of professors. The Council of Higher Education (YÖK, for its Turkish name, Yükseköğretim Kurulu) mandates that all competitions must be announced in a major newspaper, and applicants are judged on the basis of a defined portfolio. “While many Western academics assume that their professorial appointment systems are of an equal or superior academic level to those of other particularly less developed countries,” wryly remarked Geraldine Healy and her coauthors in the European Journal of Industrial Relations, “such assumptions should be questioned, particularly in debates on gender equality.”99

Their contention is buttressed by a study by the social-policy scholar Pavel Ovseiko and his coauthors in Health Research Policy and Systems, who have argued that it has proven difficult to counteract misogyny because the academy is so decentralized: “Whilst national and local policies may be in place, the reality of research is that it is devolved to the level of departments, centres, and, sometimes, individual principal investigators.”100 A centralized body like YÖK would be useful to coordinate an institution as slapdash as the academy, which often presents a screen for sordid biases. The iron cage of bureaucracy may be an unlikely object of radical politics, but it is likely the best mechanism to reduce the old boys’ club that has such a tight grip on appointments.

The destruction of these informal networks is one of the most important reforms feminists can pursue in the academy, but likely the one to encounter the greatest resistance. Until such fights are brought into the open, the old boys’ club will be protected by a shroud of silence. As an anonymous historian told an interviewer for a study carried out by the American Historical Association, “a department culture that valued ‘civility’ was used as a way of silencing female professors with ideas about new ways of getting things done.”101 The inscrutable means of selecting new professors via scouts in the Netherlands has been protected by “a gentlemen’s agreement,” as a scout boasted to the study’s lead investigator, Marieke van den Brink.102 A female scholar at Irvine, quoted in an article in Perspectives on Politics, decried the fact that powerful men “have a whole interpersonal political structure set up to support their regressive values. That’s why it’s very frustrating here, because there’s nowhere to go for appeal. The people you can go to don’t seem to share the goal of supporting equity. They don’t give a damn.”103


There is reason to hope that something as unsexy as bureaucracy could be an effective purgative. In 2004, no women won the National Institutes of Health’s prestigious Pioneer Award for innovative medical research, but the next year half of the winners were women. This success was possible because a number of new policies were put in place: women were encouraged to apply, only self-nominations (rather than institutional) were allowed, and the jury was reeducated to ferret out their misogyny.104 The way these NIH grants were dispersedthrough a process that now considered only “quality of proposal” rather than “quality of researcher”was much less skewed in terms of gender.105

As a confrontation with men in the academy is inevitable if women are to make further progress, Turkey’s experience shows that there is at least one means to reduce tension. In the 1990s, the Turkish university system dramatically expanded, doubling faculty numbers, which reduced the threat to incumbent men, but at the same time the new jobs allowed women to increase their influence throughout the academy.106 If the academic systems of the Global North took a similar step, not only could more women obtain faculty positions, but more students could be enrolled and more public universities founded.

Perhaps an even better solution would be to redistribute the lump of work that already exists. Considering that workweeks of fifty to sixty hours are common among scholars, working less is a good idea. Stress is especially prevalent among female faculty who are burdened with a disproportionate share of taking care of children, elderly relatives, and housework.107 Women still work the same hours as men, even in research-intensive fields, despite the myths of men carrying out late-night laboratory work and women leaving early to pick up children from school.108 Reducing the workweek to thirty-five hours would allow those within the academy time to enjoy their intellectual endeavors and carry out social reproduction, while spreading work among more colleagues and absorbing the glut of underemployed doctoral graduatesa group that is composed mostly of women because they drop out of the academy at every career milestone at twice the rate men do, according to one study of women in the sciences.109 Redistributive politics are inseparable from feminist goals in higher education.

The quotidian machinery of patriarchy functions as a complex of many moving parts. The same mechanisms that pull women down are the ones that push men up, compensating for the latter’s initial lack of numbers in undergraduate studies until they become an overwhelming majority among the academic elite. All these various parts, some seemingly innocuous and others quite abominable, operate together, defeating attempts that remediate only a single aspect of the patriarchal machine. This explains why the results of mainstream feminist prescriptions have proved paltry. Academic patriarchy is too well entrenched and vicious to be defeated by piecemeal reform. Academic feminism needs a Cerberus-headed politics combining a social movement, activist scholarship, and new radical bureaucratic structures.

Like universal day care, having more women in positions of power is indispensable, though not a complete solution. For example, having more women as editors in chief of important journals increases the rate of first authorship by women, sometimes raising it to more than double the rates of comparable journals headed by men, according to a study of journals of academic medicine.110 The presence of senior women at field sites drastically reduces the incidents of sexual harassment suffered by anthropologists.111 Women-only mentoring programs have a significant effect on retaining younger scholars.

But power seems to follow men, whose informal networks easily slink into the shadows. When women take over formal networks, they become vulnerable to misogynist reprisals and are burdened with increased workloads. “Women were delighted about the increase in female chairs, deans, or central administrators; some considered that these increases signaled genuine improvement,” noted the authors of a study on attitudes held by female faculty at the University of California, Irvine. “Too often, however, a woman’s holding of this position would devalue or minimize it somewhat, casting it into the service mode, not the power mode. We heard this comment so frequently across all disciplines that we finally named it gender devaluation.” Yet again, patriarchy places women in a bind: “Women take on these service tasks despite knowing the disadvantages of spending their time on duties for which they will not be rewarded because they also recognize that such positions enabled them to open things up for other women.”112

When women step in to help other women, such as when they act as “diversity czars” in the US to ensure hiring and tenure reviews are equitable, they risk provoking a backlash from men. One scholar in the Irvine study characterized such work as standing out like a “lightning-rod” for male disgruntlement.113 Speaking out at all can be risky for one’s career. At Irvine, many female scholars “feared backlash and retribution if they agitated openly for change, so they rejected overt collective activism in favor of more subtle, nonthreatening collective actions.”114 In a survey of female scholars at US medical schools, many said they suffered within a climate of fear created by sexist heads of departments who took “punitive actions against members who disagreed with them and by advancing the careers of those who supported their point of view.”115 Numerous studies analyzed for this review noted that their interview subjects asked for anonymity for fear of reprisal. Even in the unlikely case that male retribution isn’t forthcoming, serving on committees and mentoring younger colleagues is time intensive, slowing down a woman’s tempo of publication, and thus reducing the likelihood she herself will earn a raise or promotion.116

The high risks and scanty rewards of feminist solidarity are likely why the levels of politicization among female faculty tend to be surprisingly low. Many scholars seem to see the burdens they carry as the result of their own choices or the behavior of individual misogynistic men, rather than as structured by a larger patriarchal system. “We heard a surprising lack of anger,” lamented the authors of the Irvine study. “Few women asked for institutional intervention toward a more just reconciliation between the commitment to family and the commitment to career. From the standpoint of institutional reform, then, these are not efficacious voices. These are voices of struggle, denial, and helplessness, ultimately lacking the empowering strategies to handle or change their seemingly intractable circumstances.”117

While structured inequality produces aggregate effects, it is essential to remember that it simultaneously causes intensely individual suffering. Studies on the lack of women in the academy often discuss the problem in a bloodless fashion, lamenting the loss of so much “intellectual capital,” reducing feminism to merely a business-friendly policy to make countries more competitive in the “global marketplace.”118 This overlooks how, like all scholars, women eschew potential riches to seek their intellectual fortune, motivated by a passion to learn and teach. That so many are forced to relinquish this goal because of condescending or lewd supervisors, selfish spouses, smug students, and prejudiced hiring committees is in every case a personal tragedy of an unfulfilled life. To struggle as an adjunct living in poverty or merely as an unsung research assistant to a famous husband is the fate of tens, even hundreds of thousands. For the women who finally reach the top, despite all the structural disadvantages, success often comes at a steep cost. At least at some universities, female full professors are even less content than female assistant professors. As Anne Fausto-Sterling, a pioneering biologist in the study of gender development, reflected on her life’s work: “The exhilaration of struggle and pride in social accomplishments is strong. But so too is the hurt of rejection and marginalization.”119

  1. “Like many other countries, Sweden has a vertical gender balance in academia, such that women comprise the majority (55%) of university entrants, just slightly under the majority of doctoral and postdoctoral candidates, and even senior lecturers/associate professors (46, 42 and 42% respectively), and yet there is a very sharp decline such that this number drops to only 20% of full Professors (sic). This occurs across all disciplines, and worryingly even in otherwise heavily female dominated fields such as pharmacology and veterinary medicine.” (Shina Caroline Lynn Kamerlin. “Where Are the Female Science Professors? A Personal Perspective.” F1000Research 5 (2016): 1224.) For another example of this upside down pyramid, in this case, for medical students, see T. J. Ley and B. H. Hamilton. “The Gender Gap in NIH Grant Applications.” Science 322, no. 5907 (2008): 1472. A similar distribution is found by Kristen Renwick Monroe, Jenny Choi, Emily Howell, Chloe Lampros-Monroe, Crystal Trejo, and Valentina Perez. “Gender Equality in the Ivory Tower, and How Best to Achieve It.” PS: Political Science & Politics 47, no. 02 (2014): 419. 

  2. McFarland, Joel, Bill Hussar, Cristobal de Brey, Tom Snyder, Xiaolei Wang, Sidney Wilkinson-Flicker, Semhar Gebrekristos et al. “The Condition of Education 2017. NCES 2017-144.” National Center for Education Statistics (2017): 2. 

  3. For a small sampling, see Cynthia Lee, “Proposal to Merge Language Departments is Under Discussion,” UCLA Newsroom, February 9, 2008; Nick Savidge, “Mergers Make Future Uncertain for Some Small UW-Madison Departments,” State Journal, August 16, 2015; Colleen Flaherty, “Proposed Cuts to Humanities at SUNY Stony Brook,” Inside Higher Ed, May 9, 2017. 

  4. Martin J. Finkelstein, Valierie M. Conley, and Jack H. Schuster. “Taking the Measure of Faculty Diversity.” Advancing Higher Education 1 (2016): 4. 

  5. “As recently as 20 years ago, men dominated women in the tenured ranks at research universities by a whopping 4.4 to 1. While that gender gap has shrunk by nearly half over the ensuing twenty years, it nonetheless remains fairly substantial (2.3 men to 1 woman) among tenured appointments at the research universities, especially the private research universities (2.5:1).” (Ibid., 5.)  

  6. “This ratio has barely budged in US medical schools: the number of full female professors of all faculty 9% in 1980 to 12% in 2008.” (Ibid., 3.) See also, Linda H. Pololi and Sandra J. Jones. “Women faculty: an analysis of their experiences in academic medicine and their coping strategies.” Gender Medicine 75 (2010): 439. 

  7. Giovanni Filardo, Briget da Graca, Danielle M. Sass, Benjamin D. Pollock, Emma B. Smith, and Melissa Ashley-Marie Martinez. “Trends and comparison of female first authorship in high impact medical journals: observational study (1994–2014).” bmj 352 (2016): 1. i847. 

  8. Joan C. Williams, Katherine W. Phillips, and Erika V. Hall. “Double jeopardy: Gender bias against women in science.” Retrieved from Work Life Law: (2014): 6. 

  9. Finkelstein et al., “Faculty Diversity,” 13. 

  10. Timothy J. Ley, Barton H. Hamilton. “The Gender Gap in NIH Grant Applications.” Science 322, no. 5907 (2008): 1472–1474. 

  11. Lin Bian, Sarah-Jane Leslie, and Andrei Cimpian. “Gender stereotypes about intellectual ability emerge early and influence children’s interests.” Science 355, no. 6323 (2017): 389–391. 

  12. Corinne A. Moss-Racusin, John F. Dovidio, Victoria L. Brescoll, Mark J. Graham, and Jo Handelsman. “Science faculty’s subtle gender biases favor male students.” Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences 109, no. 41 (2012): 16475. 

  13. Frances Trix and Carolyn Psenka. “Exploring the Color of Glass: Letters of Recommendation for Female and Male Medical Faculty.” Discourse & Society 14, no. 2 (2003): 191–220. 

  14. Toni Schmader, Jessica Whitehead, and Vicki H. Wysocki. “A linguistic comparison of letters of recommendation for male and female chemistry and biochemistry job applicants.” Sex Roles 57, no. 7-8 (2007): 514. 

  15. Jason M. Sheltzer and Joan C. Smith. “Elite Male Faculty in the Life Sciences Employ Fewer Women.” Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences 111, no. 28 (2014): 10107. 

  16. Sheltzer and Smith, “Elite Male Faculty,” 10108. 

  17. Sheltzer and Smith, “Elite Male Faculty,” 10110. 

  18. Sarah-Jane Leslie, Andrei Cimpian, Meredith Meyer, and Edward Freeland. “Expectations of brilliance underlie gender distributions across academic disciplines.” Science 347, no. 6219 (2015): 262. 

  19. “Rather than being iconoclasts, women tended to uphold to a particularly high degree the traditional methodological standards of science, such as carefulness, replicability and connection to fundamentals. As a group, women, as relative newcomers to science, adopted – or were taught to adhere to – an extra-high measure of conformity to the formal norms of conducting research.” (Gerhard Sonnert and Gerald Holton. “Career patterns of women and men in sciences.” American Scientist 84, no. 1 (1996): 69.)  

  20. “Black women (76.9 percent) were more likely than other women to report having to provide more evidence of competence than others to prove themselves to colleagues (Latinas: 64.5 percent; Asian-Americans: 63.6 percent; White women: 62.7 percent).” (Williams et al., ”Double Jeopardy,” 6.)  

  21. Erin Hengel. “Publishing while Female. Are women held to higher standards? Evidence from peer review.” (2017): 2. 

  22. Hengel, “Publishing while Female,” 4. 

  23. Hengel, “Publishing while Female,” 15. 

  24. Heather Sarsons. “Recognition for group work: Gender differences in academia.” American Economic Review 107, no. 5 (2017): 144. 

  25. Ibid. 

  26. Hengel, “Publishing while Female,” 16. 

  27. Stephen J. Ceci and Wendy M. Williams. “Understanding current causes of women’s underrepresentation in science.” Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences 108, no. 8 (2011): 3158-3162. See also Wendy M. Williams and Stephen J. Ceci. “National hiring experiments reveal 2: 1 faculty preference for women on STEM tenure track.” Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences 112, no. 17 (2015): 5360–5365. Both these studies doubt the prevalence of sex discrimination and make other odious assumptions. They make much of the fact that women’s papers are not disproportionately rejected by journal editors, but fail to address a crucial question raised by Hengel: Although men’s and women’s papers may be published at comparable rates, do referees consistently apply identical standards in how they scrutinize and evaluate their work? (Hengel, “Publishing while Female,” 2.)  

  28. In a review of twenty-one studies of grant agencies (covering sixty-six different peer review procedures) in the EU, the US, and Australia, published in Journal of Informetrics, it was estimated that men were 7 percent more likely to be given a grant . “In other words,” as Lutz Bornmann and his coauthors conclude, “in grant peer review the odds for approval of men’s grant applications are about 15:14.” (Lutz Bornmann, Rüdiger Mutz, and Hans-Dieter Daniel. “Gender differences in grant peer review: A meta-analysis.” Journal of Informetrics 1, no. 3 (2007): 236.)  

  29. Romy Van der Lee, and Naomi Ellemers. “Gender contributes to personal research funding success in The Netherlands.” Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences 112, no. 40 (2015): 12350

  30. Reshma Jagsi, Amy R. Motomura, Kent A. Griffith, Soumya Rangarajan, and Peter A. Ubel. “Sex differences in attainment of independent funding by career development awardees.” Annals of Internal Medicine 151, no. 11 (2009): 809. 

  31. Robin G. Nelson, Julienne N. Rutherford, Katie Hinde, and Kathryn BH Clancy. “Signaling safety: Characterizing fieldwork experiences and their implications for career trajectories.” American Anthropologist 119, no. 4 (2017): 715. 

  32. David Cantor, Bonnie Fisher, Susan Helen Chibnall, Reanne Townsend, Hyunshik Lee, Gail Thomas, Carol Bruce, and Westat, Inc. “Report on the AAU campus climate survey on sexual assault and sexual misconduct.” (2015): 31. 

  33. Nelson et al., “Signalling Safety,” 715. 

  34. Nelson et al., “Signalling Safety,” 715. 

  35. David Batty, Sally Weale, and Caroline Bannock. “Sexual harassment ‘at epidemic levels’ in UK universities.” The Guardian, March 5, 2017

  36. Rachael Pells, “London university professor quits over ‘sexual harassment of female students by staff’,” Independent, June 9, 2016. 

  37. Sally Weale and David Batty, “Sexual harassment of students by university staff hidden by non-disclosure agreements,” The Guardian, August 26, 2016. 

  38. Kristen Monroe, Saba Ozyurt, Ted Wrigley, and Amy Alexander. “Gender equality in academia: Bad news from the trenches, and some possible solutions.” Perspectives on politics 6, no. 2 (2008): 221. 

  39. Nelson et al., “Signalling Safety,” 713. 

  40. J.  Bohannon. “Survey of peers in fieldwork highlights an unspoken risk.” Science (New York, NY) 340, no. 6130 (2013): 265. 

  41. Marianne A. Ferber, and Michael Brün. “The gender gap in citations: does it persist?.” Feminist Economics 17, no. 1 (2011): 155. For the sciences, see Larivière, Vincent, Chaoqun Ni, Yves Gingras, Blaise Cronin, and Cassidy R. Sugimoto. “Bibliometrics: Global gender disparities in science.” Nature News 504, no. 7479 (2013): 211. 

  42. “The inclination towards being particularly cautious and careful also manifests in a tendency to prefer methods that allow for a more comprehensive study of contextual complexity. Consider, for example, that women in the social sciences prefer qualitative to quantitative methods. They prefer to investigate objects of high complexity and avoid making strong hypotheses and claims . . . it is likely that there is a global tendency to disqualify contributions when shaped by cautious, careful, detailed, perfectionist methodological choices, given the tendency to publish challenging, bold claims and the general disadvantage this poses for modest studies.” (Anna Leuschner. “Social exclusion in academia through biases in methodological quality evaluation: On the situation of women in science and philosophy.” Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part A 54 (2015): 59.)  

  43.  Daniel Maliniak, Ryan Powers, and Barbara F. Walter. “The gender citation gap in international relations.” International Organization 67, no. 4 (2013): 894–895. According to Elisabeth Lloyd in her book Science, Politics, and Evolution: “There are several interrelated pronouncements that materialize with mystifying but strict regularity whenever ‘feminism’ and ‘science’ are used in the same breath. These include: feminists judge scientific results according to ideological standards instead of truth and evidence, and are recommending that others do the same; feminists are all ‘relativists’ about knowledge, hence they don’t understand or don’t accept the basic presuppositions of scientific inquiry; feminists — like many historians, sociologists, and anthropologists of science — wish to replace explanations of scientific success that are based on following the methods of science with explanations purely in terms of power struggles, dominance, and oppression, and to ignore the role of evidence about the real world; in sum, feminists don’t believe in truth, they reject ‘objectivity’ as being oppressive, they are hostile to the goals and ideals of scientific inquiry, and they renounce the very idea of rationality itself.” (Elisabeth A. Lloyd. Science, Politics, and Evolution. Cambridge Studies in Philosophy and Biology (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2008), 202.)  

  44. Leuschner, “Social Exclusion,” 60. 

  45. “As [my student] Nick somewhat bitterly remarked at one point during the validation phase, ‘Only in philosophy do Hilary, Shelley, and Jody all turn out to be dudes.’” (Kieran Healy, “Gender and Citation in Four General-Interest Philosophy Journals, 1993 – 2013,” February 25, 2015, The most cited scholar had twice as many citations as all the women combined. 

  46. “In 2004–13 there was only a single applicant for 47% of full professorship vacancies and 37% of associate professorships.” (Mathias W. Nielsen. “Limits to meritocracy? Gender in academic recruitment and promotion processes.” Science and Public Policy 43, no. 3 (2015): 396.)  

  47. Nielsen, “Limits to Meritocracy,” 393. 

  48. “My analysis of the appointment reports revealed that 77 percent of all newly appointed professors in the period 1999-2003 were recruited through a closed appointment procedure. This implies a recruitment process in which no advertisements were placed in journals, newspapers, internet, or other public media, but candidates were invited to apply by scouts through formal or informal networks.” (Marieke Van den Brink. “Scouting for talent: appointment practices of women professors in academic medicine.” Social Science & Medicine 72, no. 12 (2011): 2035.)  

  49. Van den Brink, “Scouting for Talent,” 2036. 

  50. Van den Brink, “Scouting for Talent,” 2035. 

  51. Nielsen, “Limits to Meritocracy,” 393. 

  52. “The magnitude of the effect is large: each additional woman on a committee composed of seven members increases the number of women promoted to full professor by 14%.” (Natalia Zinovyeva and Manuel F. Bagues. Does Gender Matter for Academic Promotion? Evidence from a Randomized Natural Experiment. No. 5537. Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA), 2011, 1.) For a similar study in the context of Italy, see De Paola, Maria, and Vincenzo Scoppa. “Gender discrimination and evaluators’ gender: evidence from Italian academia.” Economica 82, no. 325 (2015): 162–188. 

  53. Alexander, Claire E., and Jason Arday. Aiming Higher: Race, Inequality and Diversity in the Academy. (London: Runnymede, 2015), 32. 

  54. Molly M. King, Carl T. Bergstrom, Shelley J. Correll, Jennifer Jacquet, and Jevin D. West. “Men Set Their Own Cites High: Gender and Self-citation across Fields and over Time.” Socius (2017): 7. 

  55. James Fowler and Dag Aksnes. “Does self-citation pay?” Scientometrics 72, no. 3 (2007): 432. 

  56. King et al., “Gender and Self-citation,” 16. 

  57. Fowler et al., “Self-Citation.” 

  58. King et al., “Men Set Their Own Cites High,” 10. 

  59. Williams et al., “Double Jeopardy,” 6. 

  60. King et al., “Men Set Their Own Cites High,” 15. 

  61. Daniel Z. Grunspan, Sarah L. Eddy, Sara E. Brownell, Benjamin L. Wiggins, Alison J. Crowe, and Steven M. Goodreau. “Males Under-Estimate Academic Performance of Their Female Peers in Undergraduate Biology Classrooms.” PLoS ONE 11, no. 2 (2016): 6. 

  62. Grunspan et al, “Males Under-Estimate,” 6. 

  63. Ibid., 6. 

  64. Monroe et al., “Gender Equality,” 420. 

  65. Patti Miles and Deanna House. “The Tail Wagging the Dog; An Overdue Examination of Student Teaching Evaluations.” International Journal of Higher Education 4, no. 2 (2015): 117. 

  66. The results were: “actual male” 3.92 (out of five), “actual female” 4.07, “perceived male” 4.24, “perceived female” 3.7. (Lillian MacNell, Adam Driscoll, and Andrea N. Hunt. “What’s in a name: Exposing gender bias in student ratings of teaching.” Innovative Higher Education 40, no. 4 (2015): 299.)  

  67. Friederike Mengel, Jan Sauermann, and Ulf Zölitz. “Gender bias in teaching evaluations.” Journal of the European Economic Association 17, no. 2 (2018): 535–536. 

  68. Boring, Anne. “Gender biases in student evaluations of teaching.” Journal of Public Economics 145 (2017): 35. 

  69. House et al., “Tail Wagging,” 123. 

  70. Mary Beard. “The public voice of women.” London Review of Books 36, no. 6 (2014): 11–14. 

  71. Pololi and Jones, “Women Faculty,” 443. 

  72. This was manifest even in the online experiment. (Lillian MacNell et al., “What’s in a Name,” 300.)  

  73. Williams et al., “Double Jeopardy,” 6. 

  74. “Male historians reported spending significantly more time per week on research. Women historians reported an average of 7.4 hours at the associate level and 8.2 hours at the full professor rank, as compared to 9.3 hours and 11.8 hours among their male counterparts.” (Robert B. Townsend, “Gender and success in academia: More from the historians’ career paths survey,” Perspectives on History, January 1, 2013.)  

  75. “On average, women also allocated about 10 percent more of their time to teaching and instruction-related activities than male historians at both the associate and full professor levels. Female associate professors reported spending an average of 33.2 hours per week on instructional activities as compared to 30.4 hours per week among the male historians. Similarly, at the full professor level, women reported putting in an average of 32.1 hours on instruction, while their male counterparts reported an average of 29.3 hours.” (Townsend, “Gender and Success.”)  

  76. Cathrine Seierstad and Geraldine Healy. “Women’s equality in the Scandinavian academy: a distant dream?.” Work, employment and society 26, no. 2 (2012): 305. 

  77. Londa L. Schiebinger, Andrea Davies Henderson, and Shannon K. Gilmartin. Dual-career academic couples: What universities need to know. (Michelle R. Clayman institute for gender research, Stanford University, 2008), 4. Amongst US historians, for example, 55% of women have a spouse with a PhD, but only 31% of men have similarly highly educated spouses. Townsend, “Gender and Success.” 

  78. Kay Steiger. “The pink collar workforce of academia.” Nation 11 (2013). 

  79. Anna Bawden, “Academia for Women: Short Maternity Leave, Few Part-Time Roles and Lower Pay,” The Guardian, November 18, 2014. Bawden cites the median pay gap at UK universities to be 14%. In the US, the gap is 22% and it has been static since the turn of the century. See Snyder, Thomas D., and Sally A. Dillow. “Digest of Education Statistics 2013. NCES 2015-011.” National Center for Education Statistics (2015): 388–674. 

  80. Schiebinger et al., Dual-Career Academic Couples, 35. 

  81. “Among respondents who out-earn their academic partners, 61 percent of men and 44 percent of women consider their own careers more important than their partners, whereas 37 percent of men and 51 percent of women consider the careers of both partners to be of equal importance. In other words, higher-earning men in academic couples more often privilege their careers whereas higher-earning women more often assign equal value to both careers.” (Schiebinger et al., Dual-Career Academic Couples, 38.)  

  82. Sheltzer and Smith, “Elite Male Faculty,” 10107. 

  83. “5.7 percent of the female respondents reporting a resignation for that reason, as compared to two percent of their male counterparts.” (Townsend, “Gender and Success.”)  

  84. Schiebinger et al., “Dual-Career Academic Couples,” 36. 

  85. Nicholas Wolfinger, “For Female Scientists, There’s no Good Time to Have Children,” The Atlantic, July 29, 2013. 

  86. Alexis Coe, “Being Married Helps Professors Get Ahead, but Only If They’re Male,” The Atlantic, January 17, 2013. 

  87. Wolfinger, “For Female Scientists.” 

  88. Heather Antecol, Kelly Bedard, and Jenna Stearns. “Equal but Inequitable: Who Benefits from Gender-Neutral Tenure Clock Stopping Policies?.” American Economic Review 108, no. 9 (2018): 2420-41. 

  89. Monroe et al., “Gender Equality,” 423. 

  90. Seiersta and Healy, “Women’s Equality,” 301. 

  91. Ibid., 303. 

  92. Elissa Z. Cameron,, Meeghan E. Gray, and Angela M. White. “Is publication rate an equal opportunity metric?.” Trends in ecology & evolution 28, no. 1 (2013): 7. “The link between length of maternity leave and professional success in academia is not straightforward, and other factors including childcare provisions and societal attitudes play a major role.” (Kamerlin, “Where are the female science professors?”)  

  93. Geraldine Healy, Mustafa Özbilgin, and Hanife Aliefendioğlu. “Academic employment and gender: A Turkish challenge to vertical sex segregation.” European Journal of Industrial Relations 11, no. 2 (2005): 247–264. 

  94. European Commission. She Figures 2012: Gender in Research and Innovation: Statistics and Indicators. Publications Office of the European Union, 2013. 

  95. Berna Zengin-Arslan. “Women in engineering education in Turkey: Understanding the gendered distribution.” International Journal of Engineering Education 18, no. 4 (2002): 400–408. 

  96. Healy et al., “Academic Employment and Gender”, 253; Kamerlin, “Where are the Female Science Professors?” 

  97. Kamerlin, “Where are the Female Science Professors?” 

  98. Leuschner, “Social Exclusion.” 

  99. Healy et al., “Academic Employment and Gender,” 256. 

  100. Pavel V. Ovseiko, Trisha Greenhalgh, Paula Adam, Jonathan Grant, Saba Hinrichs-Krapels, Kathryn E. Graham, Pamela A. Valentine et al. “A global call for action to include gender in research impact assessment.” Health Research Policy and Systems 14, no. 1 (2016): 50. 

  101. Townsend, “Gender and Success.” 

  102. Van den Brink, “Scouting for Talent,” 2036. 

  103. Monroe et al., “Bad News,” 219. 

  104. National Research Council. Assessment of NIH minority research and training programs: Phase 3. National Academies Press, 2005. 

  105. Van der Lee and Ellemers, “Gender Contributes,” 12352. 

  106. Healy et al., “Academic Employment and Gender,” 255. 

  107. Quote from “Claudine”, an interview subject: “I think I did a good job balancing the two [work and family]. I remember when I was teaching a big intro class, I would take my kids to the park to go play, and instead of interacting with them, just grade papers. I remember the number of years I got by on sleeping four hours every night, until I just collapsed.” (Monroe et al., “Bad News,” 224.)  

  108. “There was no correlation between the total number of hours worked (on- plus off-campus) and female, representation.” (Leslie et al., “Expectations of Brilliance.” See also, Townsend, “Gender and Success.”)  

  109. Ceci et al., “Women in Academic Science,” 121–124. 

  110. Filardo et al., “Trends and Comparison,” 6. 

  111. Bohannon, “Survey of Peers,” 265; Nelson et al., “Signalling Safety,” 715. 

  112. Kristen Monroe, Saba Ozyurt, Ted Wrigley, and Amy Alexander. “Gender equality in academia: Bad news from the trenches, and some possible solutions.” Perspectives on politics 6, no. 2 (2008): 220. 

  113. Monroe et al., “Bad News,” 229. 

  114. Monroe et al., “Bad News,” 223. 

  115. Pololi and Jones, “Women Faculty,” 445. 

  116. Coe, “Being Married Helps.” 

  117. Monroe et al., “Bad News,” 225. 

  118. Helen Shen. “Inequality quantified: Mind the gender gap.” Nature News 495, no. 7439 (2013): 22; Ley, T. J., and B. H. Hamilton. “The Gender Gap in NIH Grant Applications.” Science 322, no. 5907 (2008): 1472. 

  119. Anne Fausto-Sterling, “My Life Confronting Sexism in Academia,” Boston Review, June 10, 2013. 

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Issue 34 Head Case
The Pink
Issue 34 Head Case

You have one body and twenty-four hours in a day. An organizer asks what you’ll do with them, concretely, now.

Issue 34 Head Case

My claim on the country is as strong as any claim of yours over the people and places you love, which is to say, I have none.

Issue 34 Head Case
Special Journey to Our Bottom Line
Issue 34 Head Case
The Amphibians
Issue 34 Head Case
Issue 34 Head Case
The Hidden Fortress
Issue 34 Head Case
Issue 34 Head Case
The Promise
Issue 34 Head Case

The worst advice anyone ever got in a movie is in Casablanca.

Issue 34 Head Case
Vernacular Modernism
Issue 34 Head Case

The politicization of the economy and the extension of controls does not always or perhaps even often favor the popular classes.

Issue 34 Head Case

The fact is, far from collapsing, Brooklyn civilization is likely to suffer only a modest decrease in its quality of life.