Gender Issues

, 28:134 | Cite as

Gender Differences in STEM Disciplines: From the Aspects of Informal Professional Networking and Faculty Career Development

  • Yonghong Jade XuEmail author
  • Cynthia L. Martin
Original Article


This study examines informal professional networks (IPNs) and their role in the underrepresentation of women faculty in traditionally male-dominated science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) disciplines. A mixed-methods design was taken in which interviews were conducted during the qualitative phase to gather information of faculty networking experiences and the importance of IPNs in their career development. An online survey was developed based on the findings from the interviews and used to gather data during the quantitative phase to further probe the patterns and functions of IPNs. Major findings are reported, including the meaningful impact of IPNs on the career development of faculty in STEM disciplines and some significant gender differences in networking patterns.


Informal professional networks Faculty career development STEM Gender differences 



This work was supported in full or in part by a grant from The University of Memphis Faculty Research Grant Fund. This support does not necessarily imply endorsement by the University of research conclusions.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.University of MemphisMemphisUSA
  2. 2.University of Memphis, Office of Institutional ResearchMemphisUSA

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