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Why the Academic Pipeline Leaks: Fewer Men than Women Perceive Barriers to Becoming Professors


Women are underrepresented in the professoriate compared to men; this study was designed to examine whether systemic barriers associated with parenting discourage women from pursuing academic careers. Data from 468 female and male graduate students were collected through an online questionnaire. More men than women intend to pursue academic careers. Parenting and mobility issues—but not research or teaching issues—were more negatively associated with entering the professoriate for women than for men. However, women were not more interested in having children than men were. Results support the hypothesis that women self-select away from academia in response to perceived systemic barriers related to parenthood. To ensure quality and equity in academia, universities should enact policy that addresses the realities of childbearing and childrearing women.

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Anders, S.M.v. Why the Academic Pipeline Leaks: Fewer Men than Women Perceive Barriers to Becoming Professors. Sex Roles 51, 511–521 (2004).

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  • gender
  • higher education
  • graduate study
  • family
  • academia