Annotated bibliography on tenure-track hiring and gender.

Leaks in the pipeline: separating demographic inertia from ongoing gender differences in academia Here, the authors modelled gender balance across academic stages using NSF data from 1979-2006. They found that even after accounting for demographic intertia (fewer women than expected due to past imbalances), there were fewer women professors than predicted under a null model. The transition to tenure-track positions appeared to be a strong bottleneck for women in academia.

Recent ecology hires are gender balanced

Newly hired tenure-trak N. American asst. professors of ecology are 59% women A survey of recent hires based on departmental websites found that 54% of hires in ecology positions advertised in 2015-16 were women (n=193) and 59% of hires in positions advertsied in 2016-2017 (n=192) were women.

National hiring experiments reveal 2:1 faculty preference for women on STEM tenure track Williams and Ceci: “Contrary to prevailing assumptions, men and women faculty members from all four fields preferred female applicants 2:1 over identically qualified males with matching lifestyles (single, married, divorced) … Our findings, supported by real-world academic hiring data, suggest advantages for women launching academic science careers.”

Are we there yet? Biases in hiring women faculty candidates A comment on the previous article that brought up the following criticisms:

  • The professional narratives and CVs used were of exceptionally good candidates.
  • Reviewers knew that these candidates were fictitious. The authors argue that both of these factors mean that reviewers were more likely to pick a female candidate than they would in an actual hiring situtation.

Women have substantial advantage in STEM faculty hiring, except when competing against more-accomplished men A followup to Williams and Ceci (from Ceci and Williams). “Faculty of both genders and in all fields preferred the more-qualified men over the slightly-less-qualified women, and they also preferred the stronger women over the slightly-less-qualified man. This suggests that preference for women among identically-qualified applicants found in experimental studies and in audits does not extend to women whose credentials are even slightly weaker than male counterparts. Thus these data give no support to the twin claims that weaker males are chosen over stronger females or weaker females are hired over stronger males.”

Publication metrics and success on the academic job market This paper uses a machine-learning approach along with data from PubMed to predict an individuals chance of becoming a principal investigator (PI). They show that many of the usual suspects affect chance of becoming PI (number of publications, impact factor of publication journals, citation metrics, university rank), but also that gender is a significant predictor and that men are more likely than women to become PIs.

When Two Bodies Are (Not) a Problem: Gender and Relationship Status Discrimination in Academic Hiring “Through a qualitative case study of junior faculty search committees at a large R1 university, I show that committees actively considered women’s—but not men’s—relationship status when selecting hires. Drawing from gendered scripts of career and family that present men’s careers as taking precedence over women’s, committee members assumed that heterosexual women whose partners held academic or high-status jobs were not “movable,” and excluded such women from offers when there were viable male or single female alternatives. Conversely, committees infrequently discussed male applicants’ relationship status and saw all female partners as movable. Consequently, I show that the “two-body problem” is a gendered phenomenon embedded in cultural stereotypes and organizational practices that can disadvantage women in academic hiring.”

Recommendation letters

Exploring the color of glass: letters of recommendation for female and male medical faculty “This study examines over 300 letters of recommendation for medical faculty at a large American medical school in the mid-1990s, using methods from corpus and discourse analysis, with the theoretical perspective of gender schema from cognitive psychology. Letters written for female applicants were found to differ systematically from those written for male applicants in the extremes of length, in the percentages lacking in basic features, in the percentages with doubt raisers (an extended category of negative language, often associated with apparent commendation), and in frequency of mention of status terms. Further, the most common semantically grouped possessive phrases referring to female and male applicants (her teaching,' his research’) reinforce gender schema that tend to portray women as teachers and students, and men as researchers and professionals.”

A linguistic comparison of letters of recommendation for male and female chemistry and biochemistry job applicants “In the current study, text analysis software was used to examine 886 letters of recommendation written on behalf of 235 male and 42 female applicants for either a chemistry or biochemistry faculty position at a large U.S. research university. Results revealed more similarities than differences in letters written for male and female candidates. However, recommenders used significantly more standout adjectives to describe male as compared to female candidates.”

Raising doubt in letters of recommendation for academia: gender differences and their impact “This current two-part study examines differences in the number of doubt raisers that are written in 624 authentic letters of recommendations for 174 men and women applying for eight assistant professor positions (study 1) and the impact of these doubt raisers on 305 university professors who provided evaluations of recommendation letters (study 2). The results show that both male and female recommenders use more doubt raisers in letters of recommendations for women compared to men and that the presence of certain types of doubt raisers in letters of recommendations results in negative outcomes for both genders.”