Research in Higher Education

, Volume 43, Issue 6, pp 657–691 | Cite as

More Than a Pipeline Problem: Labor Supply Constraints and Gender Stratification Across Academic Science Disciplines



Employing a nationally representative sample of science faculty in U.S. colleges, we investigate 3 explanations for persisting differences in women's faculty representation across science fields even after adjusting for women's variable representation among doctoral recipients. First, we examine labor market factors: (a) differential growth rates and “critical mass” in the supply of women doctoral recipients, (b) growth or contraction in academic and nonacademic job opportunities, and (c) presence of foreign-born scholars. Second, we control for institutional explanations such as differential rates of faculty unionization and less receptivity to women at prestigious or research-oriented universities and fields that are “applied,” “soft,” or “nonlife” sciences. Third, gender role explanations are addressed by controlling for gender differences in work experience, work interruptions, and the prestige of doctoral credentials. After finding that none of these explanations account fully for distinctive patterns among science fields in the faculty gender composition, we discuss how they may reflect differences in academic “cultures.”

women scientists faculty women gender inequity doctoral labor supply academic cultures 


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© Human Sciences Press, Inc. 2002

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of SociologyArizona State UniversityTempe
  2. 2.Arizona State UniversityUSA

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