The Goal of Gender Transformation in American Universities: Toward Social Justice for Women in the Academy

  • Barbara Risman
  • Timothy Adkins


Why should a volume on social justice and the university include a chapter about social justice inside the university and for professors? We think there are two reasons. First, many of the intellectuals who have the freedom and luxury to think and write about social justice are university faculty. Tenured faculty live privileged lives within the academy. It is important that we clean up our own backyards as well as focus much needed attention on inequality in the rest of the world. To this end, we will use our space in this chapter to carve out one little question about the justice of universities: How far have universities come in their attempt to become nonsexist, providing faculty with more egalitarian workplaces? The second reason why a book on social justice should include a focus on universities, is that there has been a US governmental initiative to create “institutional gender transformation” on many university campuses. The National Science Foundation (NSF) has been funding ADVANCE grants to help incorporate women into fields in which they are under-represented in science, technology, engineering, and math (the STEM disciplines). Millions of dollars have been spent on gender transformation attempts on campuses around the country. We see this as a sort of test of the possibilities to change workplaces and organizations in feminist directions. How well do we know how to make social change in universities so that they become more egalitarian, even in only one way for a class of privileged workers? When we explicitly try, and devote many resources to the effort, can we move universities toward gender equity?


Social Justice Gender Equity Female Faculty Woman Faculty Promote Social 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.


  1. Acker, Joan (1990) “Hierarchies, Jobs, Bodies: A Theory of Gendered Organizations”, Gender & Society 4, 2, 139–158.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Avent-Holt, Dustin, and Donald Tomaskovic-Devey (2012) “Relational Inequality: Gender Earnings Inequality in U.S. and Japanese Manufacturing Plants in the Early 1980s”, Social Forces 91, 1, 157–80.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Banerjee, Pallavi (2013) “Paradoxes of Patriarchy: Contradicting Experiences of South Asian Women in Ethnic Labor Markets”, in Immigrant Women Workers in the Neoliberal Age: Interdisciplinary Perspectives on an Undenepresented Labor Force (Urbana-Champaign, IL: University of Illinois Press), 96–116.Google Scholar
  4. Battilana, Julie, Bernard Leca, and Eva Boxenbaum (2009) “How Actors Change Institutions: Towards a Theory of Institutional Entrepreneur ship”, Academy of Management Annals 3, 1, 65–107.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Bilimoria, Diana, and Xiangfen Liang (2012) Gender Equity in Science and Engineering: Advancing Change in Higher Education (New York: Routledge).Google Scholar
  6. Campbell, M. and Phyllis Moen (1992) “Job-Family Role Strain among Single Mothers of Preschoolers”, Family Relations 42, 205–11.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Carrell, Scott E., Marianne E. Page, and James F. West (2010) “Sex and Science: How Professor Gender Perpetuates the Gender Gap”, The Quarterly Journal of Economics 125, 3, 1101–44.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. Chicago Biomedical Consortium (2014) “Homepage”, Available: February 19, 2014).
  9. Coltrane, Scott L. (2009) Sociology of Marriage and Family (Independence, KY: Cengage).Google Scholar
  10. Coontz, Stephanie (1992) The Way We Never Were: American Families and the Nostalgia Trap (New York: Basic Books).Google Scholar
  11. DiMaggio, Paul J. (1988) “Interest and Agency in Institutional Theory”, in L. Zucker (ed.) Institutional Patterns and Organizations (Cambridge, MA: Ballinger).Google Scholar
  12. Drago, Robert W. (2007) Striking a Balance: Work, Family Life (Boston: Dollars & Sense).Google Scholar
  13. Drago, Robert W., C. Colbeck, D. Stauffer, A. Pirretti, K. Burkum, and T. Habasevich (2006) “The Avoidance of Bias Against Caregiving: The Case of Academic Faculty”, American Behavioral Scientist 49, 1222–47.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. Georgia Institution of Technology (2007) “Final Report: October 1, 2001-December 31, 2006”, Available: ADVANCEfinalreport2007.doc (Accessed February 19, 2014).
  15. Gerson, Kathleen (1993) No Man’ Land: Men’ Changing Commitments to Family and Work (New York: Basic Books).Google Scholar
  16. Gerson, Kathleen, and Jerry A. Jacobs (2005) The Time Divide: Work, Family, and Gender Inequality (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press).Google Scholar
  17. Hochschild, Arlie Russell (1989) The Second Shift: Working Parents and the Revolution at Home (New York: Viking Penguin).Google Scholar
  18. Holmes, Mary Anne (2012) “Working Together”, Nature 489, 327–8.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. Holmes, Mary Anne, and Suzanne O’Connell (2007) “Leaks in the Pipeline: Why do Women Remain Curiously Absent from the Ranks of Academia?”, Nature 446, 346.Google Scholar
  20. Holmes, Mary Anne, Suzanne O’Connell, Connie Frey and Lois Ongley (2008) “Gender Imbalance in U.S. Geoscience Academia”, Nature Geoscience 1, 2, 79–82.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. Luna, Gayle, Catherine Medina, and Sharon Gorman (2010) “Academic Reality’ show’: Presented by Women Faculty of Color”, Advancing Women in Leadership Journal 30, 11, Available at: volume-30-2010/
  22. Mason, Mary Ann, and Marc Goulden (2002) “Do Babies Matter? The Effect of Family Formation on the Lifelong Careers of Academic Men and Women”, Academe, 88, 6, 21–27.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. Mason, Mary Ann, Nicholas H. Wolfinger, and Marc Goulden (2013) Do Babies Matter? Gender and Family in the Ivory Tower, (New Brunswick: Rutgers University Press).Google Scholar
  24. Moen, Phyllis (1991) “Transitions in Midlife: Women’ Work and Family Roles in the 1970s”, Journal of Marriage and the Family 53, 135–50.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  25. National Academies (2007) Rising above the Gathering Storm: Energizing and Employing America for a Brighter Economic Future (Washington, DC: National Academies Press).Google Scholar
  26. National Science Foundation “ADVANCE: Increasing the Participation and Advancement of Women in Academic Science and Engineering Careers (ADVANCE)”, Available: (Accessed February 19, 2014).
  27. New Mexico State University (2009) “ADVANCE Institutional Transformation: Final Report”, Available:
  28. Payne, Stephanie C., Allison L. Cook, and Ismael Diaz (2012) “Understanding Childcare Satisfaction and Its Effect on Workplace Outcomes: The Convenience Factor and the Mediating Role of Work-Family Conflict”, Journal of Occupational & Organizational Psychology 85, 2, 225–44.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  29. Rhoads, Steven E., and Christopher H. Rhoads (2012) “Gender Roles and Infant/Toddler Care: Male and Female Professors on the Tenure Track”, Journal of Social, Evolutionary and Cultural Psychology 6, 1, 13–31.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  30. Risman, Barbara J. (1998) Gender Vertigo: American Families in Transition, (New Haven, CT: Yale University Press).Google Scholar
  31. Risman, Barbara J. (2004) “Gender As a Social Structure: Theory Wrestling with Activism”, Gender & Society 18, 4, 429–50.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  32. Risman, Barbara J., and Georgiann Davis (2012) “From Sex Roles to Gender Structure”, Sociopedia.isa, 1–16.Google Scholar
  33. Schiebinger, Londa L., Andrea Davies Henderson, and Shannon K. Gilmartin (2008) Dual-Career Academic Couples: What Universities Need to Know (Stanford: Stanford University Press).Google Scholar
  34. Spalter-Roth, Roberta, and Nicole Van Vooren (2012) “Mothers in Pursuit of Ideal Academic Careers”, American Sociological Association, Available: documents/research/docs/Mothers_Ideal_Acad_Careers_2012.pdf (Accessed February 19, 2014).
  35. University of Alabama, Birmingham (2009) “UAB ADVANCE Institutional Transformation 2009 Annual Report”, Available: 2008-Annual-Report5-27-08.pdf (Accessed February 19, 2014).
  36. University of California Irvine (2007) “UCI ADVANCE Program Fifth Year Report”, Available: pdf (Accessed June 15, 2012).
  37. University of Illinois at Chicago (2011) “WISEST: Women in Science and Engineering System Transformation—Year 5 Annual Report: August 1, 2010-May 1, 2011”, Available: 20ANNUAL%20Report%2004%2030%20201 l%20no%20budget.pdf (Accessed June 15, 2012).
  38. University of Illinois at Chicago (2012) “Faculty Affairs Human Resources: Policies and Procedures”, Available: html (Accessed June 15, 2012).
  39. University of Michigan Ann Arbor (2006) “Year-End Report for ADVANCE Institutional Transformation Project—Year 5: December 2006”, Available: (Accessed June 15, 2012).
  40. University of Michigan Ann Arbor (2007) “Assessing the Academic Work Environment for Science and Engineering and Social Science Faculty at the University of Michigan in 2006: Gender, Race, and Discipline in Department-and University-Related Climate Factors”, Available: 1-final. pdf (Accessed Jime 15, 2012).
  41. University of Michigan Ann Arbor (2008) “Assessing the Academic Work Environment for Science and Engineering and Social Science Faculty at the University of Michigan in 2006: Gender, Race, and Discipline in Retention—Relevant Career Experiences Executive Summary”, Available: (Accessed June 15, 2012).
  42. University of Texas El Paso (2008) “Year End Report: September 1, 2007-August 31, 2008”, Available: Version%202007–2008%20Website%20Report.pdf (Accessed June 15, 2012).
  43. University of Washington (2012) “ADVANCE Resource Library”, Available: http:// (Accessed June 15, 2012).
  44. Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University (2010) “AdvanceVT Final Report.” Available: (Accessed February 19, 2014).
  45. Williams, Joan C. (1999) Unbending Gender: Why Family and Work Conflict and What To Do about It (New York: Oxford University Press).Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Barbara J. Risman and Timothy Adkins 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  • Barbara Risman
  • Timothy Adkins

There are no affiliations available

Personalised recommendations