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Despite Gains in Academia, Fewer Women Than Men Receive Tenure

Earlier this week, the American Association of University Women (AAUW) released a report stating that women hold lower-ranking positions in academia, earn lower salaries, and are less likely to be granted tenure. The report, titled “Tenure Denied: Cases of Sex Discrimination in Academia,” describes specific cases women professors have taken to the courts after facing discrimination in obtaining tenure. According to AAUW, women represent more than one-half of college and university instructors and lecturers across the country and nearly one-half of all assistant professors. In spite of this, only one-third of associate professors and only 27 percent of tenured professors are women. This problem of discrimination is exacerbated by unclear standards and biased decision-making in the tenure process, according to AAUW. AAUW’s report includes strategies for female professors as well as institutions of higher education to combat this sex-based employment discrimination, which is prohibited by both Title IX and Title VII of the Civil Rights Act. In almost all of the lawsuits detailed by the AAUW report, the role of Title IX coordinators seems to be invisible. Title IX regulations specify that each recipient of federal financial assistance for educational programs and activities “designate at least one employee to coordinate its efforts to comply with and carry out Title IX responsibilities.” Without the essential Title IX gender equity coordinators in place, educators, parents, and students are frequently left unable to effectively solve or prevent problems. According to Dr. Sue Klein, director of education equity at the Feminist Majority Foundation, fewer than 50 percent of educators understand what Title IX covers and that only a miniscule percent of students and parents are aware of their rights under Title IX. Forty-four percent of doctoral recipients in 2001 were women, up from 32 percent 20 years earlier, according to AAUW. “More needs to be done to ensure that this growing stream of highly qualified women is considered for tenure fairly,” said Dr. Klein. LEARN MORE about the Feminist Majority Foundation’s effort to protect Title IX SIGN UP to receive important updates and action alerts from the Title IX Action Network DONATE to the Feminist Majority Foundation to support its work to achieve gender equality in education

Sources:

AAUW Press Kit 10/19/04; The Capital Times 10/22/04; Feminist Majority FoundationÕs Education Equality website