Managing an Academic Career in Science: What Gender Differences Exist and Why?

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2006-06-08

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Title of Document: MANAGING AN ACADEMIC CAREER IN SCIENCE: WHAT GENDER DIFFERENCES EXIST AND WHY?

Gayle Patrice Richards, Doctor of Philosophy, 2006

Directed By: Professor Bart Landry

Sociology Department

The present study examines the career trajectories of academic scientists during the period from 1993 to 2001 to explore gender differences in mobility. Data from the National Science Foundation's Survey of Doctorate Recipients are used to examine and compare gender differences in the odds of promotion.

The effects of age, marital and family status, duration of time to complete doctorate, academic discipline, cumulative number of publications and time in the survey are considered as explanatory variables. Event history analyses are conducted for all scientists, for scientists in four major academic disciplines and for scientists in various academic ranks.

While no overall gender differences were observed in the odds of promotion, several important similarities and differences were evident. Expectedly, publications had a significant and positive relationship with advancement for both women and men. The role of parent influenced promotions quite differently for women and men. Contrary to expectations based on prior research, academic women scientists who were mothers advanced at similar rates as women without children. Consistent with expectations based on traditional roles, married men and men with children generally advanced more quickly than single or childless men, respectively. Two surprising patterns emerged among subgroups of women. Marriage was associated with greater odds of advancement for women engineers and motherhood was associated with greater odds of advancement for among assistant professors. Possible explanations for these findings are presented.

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