This paper investigates the amount of academic service performed by female versus male faculty. We use 2014 data from a large national survey of faculty at more than 140 institutions as well as 2012 data from an online annual performance reporting system for tenured and tenure–track faculty at two campuses of a large public, Midwestern University. We find evidence in both data sources that, on average, women faculty perform significantly more service than men, controlling for rank, race/ethnicity, and field or department. Our analyses suggest that the male–female differential is driven more by internal service—i.e., service to the university, campus, or department—than external service—i.e., service to the local, national, and international communities—although significant heterogeneity exists across field and discipline in the way gender differentials play out.
This is a preview of subscription content, log in to check access.
Buy single article
Instant access to the full article PDF.
Price includes VAT for USA
Subscribe to journal
Immediate online access to all issues from 2019. Subscription will auto renew annually.
This is the net price. Taxes to be calculated in checkout.
The response rate to the survey was 41 percent overall, and the institutional response rate was 48%. Although response rate by gender is not directly available, the survey administrators note that FSSE respondents are 51% male and 49% female, compared to the benchmark of faculty at all U.S. bachelor’s degree granting institutions that is 54% male and 46% female. The difference between these two distributions may be due to the sample selection or to higher response rates among female faculty. That information is not available to the researchers. The following is a link to information on the 2014 FSSE: http://fsse.indiana.edu/pdf/FSSE_IR_2014/FSSE%202014%20Overview.pdf.
The full FSSE sample contained 18,860 faculty. After selecting for faculty who provided classroom instruction on-campus, the sample fell to 13,819. After selecting for US-based institutions, the sample became 13,581. After selecting for full-time faculty, then non-adjuncts, the sample fell to 10,650 and 10,077, respectively. After selecting for faculty with ranks and then tenure track, the sample fell to 8,629 and 7398, respectively.
Comparative institutional control and basic Carnegie Classification statistics were derived from data extracted from the National Center for Education Statistics data center for all full-time tenured or tenure track faculty employed at Title IV eligible institutions classified as four-year, excluding predominantly associates institutions reported for the 2014–2015 cycle.
The researchers were granted access to the faculty annual report data through a request to the chief academic affairs officers of the university and the two participating campuses. Access was granted under the proviso that the researchers report the results to those officers to support their own efforts to monitor equity in faculty workload.
We use the proportion of chairs in the department who are female rather than an indicator variable for whether or not the department chair is female because there are a small number of departments that have more than one person listed as chair. For example, the anthropology department lists four chairs, two of whom are women, thus the value for this variable is .5. By and large, however, this proportion ends up being a 0 or a 1—thus it behaves like an indicator variable in most cases and like a dosage variable in a few select cases.
Data for the separate regressions of each service category are not shown but are available upon request.
Antonio, A. L., Astin, H. S., & Cress, C. M. (2000). Community service in higher education. The Review of Higher Education, 23(4), 373–397.
Babcock, L., & Laschever, S. (2003). Women don’t ask. Negotiation and the gender divide. Princeton: Princeton University Press.
Babcock, L., Recalde, M. P., Vesterlund, L., & Weingart, L. (2017). Gender differences in accepting and receiving requests for tasks with low promotability. American Economic Review, 107(3), 714–747.
Bellas, M. L., & Toutkoushian, R. K. (1999). Faculty time allocations and research productivity: Gender, race and family effects. The Review of Higher Education, 22(4), 367–390.
Bird, S., Litt, J., & Wang, Y. (2004). Creating status of women reports: Institutional housekeeping as “women’s work”. NWSA Journal, 16(1), 194–206.
Bowles, H. R., Babcock, L., & Lai, L. (2007). Social incentives for gender differences in the propensity to initiate negotiations: Sometimes it does hurt to ask. Organizational Behavior and Human Decision Processes, 103, 84–103.
Carr, P. L., Gunn, C. M., Kaplan, S. A., Raj, A., & Freund, K. M. (2015). Inadequate progress for women in academic medicine: Findings from the national faculty study. Journal of Women’s Health, 24(3), 190–199.
Chisholm, S. W., et al. (1999). A study of the status of women faculty in science at MIT. Cambridge, MA: Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Retrieved April 21, 16 from http://web.mit.edu/fnl/women/women.html.
Eagly, A. H., & Johnson, B. T. (1990). Gender and leadership style: A meta-analysis. Psychological Bulletin, 108(2), 233–256.
Gilligan, C. (1982). In a different voice. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press.
Jaffee, S., & Hyde, J. S. (2000). Gender differences in moral orientation: A meta-analysis. Psychological Bulletin, 126(5), 703–726.
Kanter, R. M. (1977a). Men and women of the corporation. New York: Basic Books.
Kanter, R. M. (1977b). Some effects of proportions on group life: Skewed sec ratios and responses to token women. American Journal of Sociology, 82(5), 965–990.
Kohlberg, L. (1958). The development of modes of moral thinking and choice in the years 10 to 16. Doctoral Dissertation, The University of Chicago.
Kohlberg, L., & Hersh, R. H. (1977). Moral development: A review of theory. Theory into Practice, 16(2), 53–59.
Link, A. N., Siegel, D. S., & Bozeman, B. (2007). An empirical analysis of the propensity of academics to engage in informal university technology transfer. Industrial and Corporate Change, 16(4), 641–655.
Misra, J., Lundquist, J.H., Holmes, E., & Agiomavritis, S. (2011). The ivory ceiling of service work. Retrieved April 21, 2016 from http://www.aaup.org/article/ivory-ceiling-service-work#.VxllJzArI2x.
Mitchell, S. M., & Hesli, V. L. (2013). Women don’t ask? Women don’t say no? Bargaining and service in the political science profession. Political Science & Politics, 46(2), 355–369.
Neumann, A., & Terosky, A. (2007). To give and to receive: Recently tenured professors’ experiences of service in major research universities. The Journal of Higher Education, 78(3), 282–310.
O’Laughlin, E. M., & Bischoff, L. G. (2005). Balancing parenthood and academia: Work/family stress as influenced by gender and tenure status. Journal of Family Issues, 26(1), 79–106.
Olson, D., Maple, S., & Stage, F. (1995). Women and minority faculty job satisfaction: Professional role interests, professional satisfactions, and institutional fit. The Journal of Higher Education, 66(3), 267–293.
Perna, L. W. (2001). Sex and race differences in faculty tenure and promotion. Research in Higher Education, 42(5), 541–567.
Porter, S. R. (2007). A closer look at faculty service: What affects participation on committees? The Journal of Higher Education, 78(5), 523–541.
Pyke, K. (2011). Service and gender inequity among faculty. Political Science & Politics, 44(1), 85–87.
Russell, S., Fairweather, J., Hendrickson, R., & Zimbler, L. (1991). Profiles of faculty in higher education institutions. Washington, DC: U.S. Department of Education Office of Educational Research and Improvement (NCES 91-389).
Schiebinger, L., & Gilmartin, S. K. (2010). Housework is an academic issue. Academe, 96(1), 39–44.
Singell, L. D., Jr., Lillydahl, J., & Singell, L. D., Sr. (1996). Will changing times change the allocation of faculty time? Journal of Human Resources, 31(2), 429–449.
Street, D. L., Baril, C. P., & Benke, R. L. (1993). Research, teaching, and service in promotion and tenure decisions of accounting faculty. Journal of Accounting Education, 11, 43–60.
Toutkoushian, R. K. (1999). The status of academic women in the 1990s: No longer outsiders, but not yet equals. The Quarterly Review of Economics and Finance, 39, 679–698.
Toutkoushian, R. K., & Conley, V. M. (2005). Progress for women in academe, yet inequities persist: Evidence from NSOPF:99. Research in Higher Education, 46(1), 1–28.
Vesterlund, L., Babcock, L., & Weingart, L. (2011). Breaking the glass ceiling with “no”: Gender differences in declining requests for non-promotable tasks. Unpublished draft.
Ward, K. (2003). Faculty service roles and the scholarship of engagement. ASHE-ERIC Higher Education Report, 29, 5.
About this article
Cite this article
Guarino, C.M., Borden, V.M.H. Faculty Service Loads and Gender: Are Women Taking Care of the Academic Family?. Res High Educ 58, 672–694 (2017). https://doi.org/10.1007/s11162-017-9454-2
- Academic service