November 22, 2012

Female academics excluded from recognition and equal pay: study

Two decades after women began to outnumber men on university campuses, those gains in the student population haven’t translated into many victories for female researchers and faculty.

These are the conclusions of a new report, commissioned by the federal government two years ago after a prominent research granting program failed to choose even one woman for 19 awards. The 252-page study from the Council of Canadian Academies presents a highly critical look at the barriers limiting the progress of women’s academic careers and argues that Canada is not fulfilling its commitments to gender equity as a result.

Some key findings:

  • Biases in recruitment and evaluation of women academics can negatively impact career trajectories.
  • A persistent salary gap – with even full professors making 95 per cent of male salaries – can have effects over the long term, including in pension payments.
  • Women in universities spend more time on childcare than men, and promotion and tenure processes lack exit and re-entry points that would make a career more flexible.
  • Socialization and stereotypes define social roles and female students report lower levels of self-confidence in physical sciences, computer science, engineering and mathematics.
  • There is a disconnect between the subjects students study in high school and their career goals, particularly in science and math fields.

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