Something to shout about

May 21st, 2005

Little do the people of Califonia know that there is a war going on under their noses. An equity war of the sexes that isn’t taking place in the impoverished areas of our state, but in our houses of higher learning. Reports have been released by the University of California Office of the President revealing the truth behind the hiring practices of the many departments within the statewide system. Women are not being hired for new faculty positions even though they represent nearly half of all Ph.Ds in the candidate pool.

While the hiring of women in all disciplines in the UC system before the dismantling of affirmative action practices in the mid-90’s was nearing the hiring of men at 37% of all new faculty hires, the numbers fell to just 26% in only two years. At UC Davis, my own alma mater, the hiring of women fell from 52% in 1994 to just 13% in 1998. This crisis in hiring, which occured right at the beginning of a period of huge faculty turn-over, spawned a few individuals to action. As a result, after several hearings spearheaded by Senator Jackie Speier, halting progress has been made.

Women in 2004-04 represented 36% of new faculty hires, while they made up 51% of all US citizen PhDs. These numbers are for all disciplines across the entire UC system. While at UC Davis the numbers are slightly better for the same time period (41% women to 59% men), the story changes drastically as you separate the disciplines.

The sciences are failing to mirror these increases in new female hires. In 2003-04, only 26% of new faculty hires in mathematics and 17% in computer science and engineering were women. You can browse the numbers your self here.

Clearly, there is something wrong with a system where suitable candidates are being overlooked due to their sex. It’s not that women aren’t graduating with degrees. There are more females than males earning undergraduate degrees and entering graduate degree programs. There are near equal numbers of graduate degrees being conferred to both sexes. There is something in the system blocking the path of many female scientists. The system has got to change.

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2 Responses to “Something to shout about”

  1. Women scientists on the debate over women in science | Life or … | INWS on November 27, 2010 6:42 am

    […] action) had significantly improved the ratio of women to men across the board, but that a recent complacency had led to dramatic drops. Just looking within the UC system, we can therefore see evidence that systemic adjustments do […]

  2. Bert Doyle on October 31, 2011 10:12 am

    Thanks for the write up

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