The University's female professors in the humanities and social sciences are tenured at a slightly higher rate than their male colleagues but are twice as likely to leave Princeton once they become senior faculty members, according to a report released Thursday by the Office of the Dean of the Faculty.
The report — which mirrors a study on women faculty in science and engineering released in 2003 — also found the percentage of female professors in the humanities and social sciences increased "slowly and not very steadily" between 1992 and 2002, with considerable variation in the hiring rates among different departments. The salary gap between male and female professors, however, has narrowed during the past decade.
In May, the University approved a policy granting professors who bear or adopt children an extra year to pursue tenure, with the intent of increasing the ranks of female faculty.
President Shirley Tilghman has also assigned a working group to plan the expansion of day care services at the University.
Psychology professor Joan Girgus, who authored the new report in her capacity as Assistant Dean of the Faculty for Gender Equity, said she was surprised by the similarities between the newly-released data for the humanities and social sciences and the previous findings of the report on science and engineering.
"I think the most striking thing is the parallels," she said of the two reports, both of which found that women receive tenure at a higher rate than men but tend to serve longer as assistant professors before being promoted. "The percentage of women receiving Ph.D.'s in the humanities and social sciences has been higher for a number of years than the physical sciences and engineering, so I [had] thought that might be reflected in the data."
Looking ahead, Girgus said the University should prioritize hiring new women faculty members.
"The first and strongest recommendation coming from the science task force was to improve representation," she said. "And that's our strongest need this time, too."
Regarding tenure rates, the report found 34 percent of women hired as assistant professors in the humanities and social sciences eventually gain tenure, compared to 27 percent of men. The difference is due to the significantly higher number of women in the social sciences who receive tenure: 42 percent of women compared to just 23 percent of men. The humanities were more evenly divided, with 33 percent of men and 30 percent of women receiving tenure.
Once promoted to senior professors, women are twice as likely as male senior professors to leave the University — 2.8 percent per year versus 1.4 percent. The report gave no explanation for this phenomenon.
Overall, the report found the percentage of tenure-track female professors in the humanities and social sciences increased from 23.2 percent in 1992 to 26.9 percent in 2002, with the percentage of women in individual departments ranging from 10 to 57.1 percent.
Economics and classics hired the fewest women, with female professors remaining under 15 percent of new faculty members, while anthropology, Germanic languages, and Slavic languages hired women over 50 percent of the time, the highest rates of any department.
"While there has been progress, there is still much work to do," Dean of the Faculty David Dobkin said. "I look forward to the day when the pool attracted to every faculty search has a profile similar to the talent pool in the discipline."
Though Girgus said she is pleased at the rate female professors receive tenure, she said she was disappointed with the overall number of women hired.
"I would have hoped to see larger increases in the percentage of women in the faculty than we are in fact seeing," she said. "Particularly disappointing is the fact that the percentage of women assistant professors has been at best steady."
But Girgus said she was pleased with the results regarding male and female professors' salaries, which showed virtually no difference between the pay for men and women when their department, rank and how long they have had their Ph.D. were taken into account.
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