An evidence-based, action-oriented response to the persistent, everyday inequity of academic workplaces.
Despite decades of effort by federal science funders to increase the numbers of women holding advanced degrees and faculty jobs in science and engineering, they are persistently underrepresented in academic STEM disciplines, especially in positions of seniority, leadership, and prestige. Women filled 47% of all US jobs in 2015, but held only 24% of STEM jobs. Barriers to women are built into academic workplaces: biased selection and promotion systems, inadequate structures to support those with family and personal responsibilities, and old-boy networks that can exclude even very successful women from advancing into top leadership roles. But this situation can—and must—change.
In Building Gender Equity in the Academy, Sandra Laursen and Ann E. Austin offer a concrete, data-driven approach to creating institutions that foster gender equity. Focusing on STEM fields, where gender equity is most lacking, Laursen and Austin begin by outlining the need for a systemic approach to gender equity. Looking at the successful work being done by specific colleges and universities around the country, they analyze twelve strategies these institutions have used to create more inclusive working environments, including
implementing inclusive recruitment and hiring practices
addressing biased evaluation methods
establishing equitable tenure and promotion processes
strengthening accountability structures, particularly among senior leadership
improving unwelcoming department climates and cultures
supporting dual-career couples
offering flexible work arrangements that accommodate personal lives
promoting faculty professional development and advancement
Laursen and Austin also discuss how to bring these strategies together to create systemic change initiatives appropriate for specific institutional contexts. Drawing on three illustrative case studies—at Case Western Reserve University, the University of Texas at El Paso, and the University of Wisconsin–Madison—they explain how real institutions can strategically combine several equity-driven approaches, thereby leveraging their individual strengths to make change efforts comprehensive. Grounded in scholarship but written for busy institutional leaders, Building Gender Equity in the Academy is a handbook of actionable strategies for faculty and administrators working to improve the inclusion and visibility of women and others who are marginalized in the sciences and in academe more broadly.
Table of contents
Part I. The Problem, the Solution, and the Study
Chapter 1. What's the Problem?
Underrepresented, Out of Sight
Barriers for Women on STEM Faculties
The Importance of Representation
Chapter 2. Fix the System, Not the Women
Studying Systemic Change to Advance Gender Equity
The Content and Structure of the Book
Audiences for This Book
Limitations of the Book
Part II. Strategies for Change
Chapter 3. Interrupt Biased Processes
Strategy 1. Inclusive Recruitment and Hiring
Strategy 2. Equitable Processes of Tenure and Promotion