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New Report Highlights Challenges Women Faculty Face and Solutions to Achieve Gender Equity in Academia

Headshot of McClure

February 11, 2020

Today, in honor of the International Day of Women and Girls in Science (February 11), Leslie Ain McClure, PhD, MS, professor and chair of the department of Epidemiology and Biostatistics at the Dornsife School of Public Health, was part of a group of educators across multiple disciplines who have released a report that highlights the challenges female faculty members face in academia and provides recommendations to achieve gender equity.

In 2020, despite considerable progress in recent years, the recruitment, advancement, and promotion of women in academia remains low. Women represent a large portion of the talent present in academia, and receive more than 50 percent of all doctoral degrees, however this has not translated into sustained representation in faculty and leadership positions. Additionally, disparities are even greater among Black and Hispanic women who comprise five percent of tenured faculty in the United States.

Across all disciplines in academia, women have lower salaries than men and experience implicit bias in teaching evaluations and grant funding decisions, according to research.

The report, “Turning Chutes into Ladders for Women Faculty: A Review and Roadmap for Equity in Academia,” urges leaders to implement policies that promote an academic culture of respect and equal opportunity for all and that cultivate the inclusive learning environments necessary to empower students as future leaders.

“It is extremely important to me that we change these patterns, as both a woman in academics myself, and as a leader who is working daily with the next generation of scientists,” says McClure. “In order to see real change, it is crucial for there to be structural changes. I hope that this report will be a catalyst for initiating conversations at an institutional level, that can lead to these changes.”

To support discussions about equal opportunities for academic success at your institution, the report can be downloaded and shared with one’s leadership team and administration. “Speak up and encourage others to speak up. Hold your leaders accountable for developing family-friendly policies,” says McClure.

Read the full report