Sunday, January 20, 2013

Being Married Helps Professors Get Ahead, but Only If They're Male - Alexis Coe - The Atlantic

A new study of history professors shows that married men get promoted faster than their single colleagues, while the opposite is true for women.

I have given the gist of the study highlighting the important findings. I opine this is a very interesting and relevant research and clears the air on gender roles at workplace, especially, academia pretty much!!! Go on read, it fun :)

Robert B. Townsend, deputy director of the AHA, surveyed 2,240 associate and full professors of history and released the findings in this month's Perspectives on History. Female historians who were either married or had been married at the time of the 2010 survey took an average of 7.8 years to move from associate to full professor. Women who had never married were promoted in an average of 6.7 years. Almost two times as many of the female full professors listed their status as divorced or separated, which suggests their professional obligations were somehow less compatible with marriage than their male colleagues. They were also more likely than their male colleagues to have never wed at all.

"I have a theory about this," said Tara Nummedal, an associate professor of history at Brown University. "It seems pretty clear that smart women are going to find men who are engaged, but I just don't see that it works the other way." She added that a female professor with a stay-at-home spouse is quite rare, but often sees men with stay-at-home wives, allowing them to fully commit themselves to their professions.
Nummedal sees women called to committee work far more than men, but offers another reason. "Men are better at protecting their time," she said, further observing that women do recognize that they are called upon more often, but are compelled by a sense of community, not just professional obligation.

"The person who ends up getting the job," Nummedal continued, "is a man who has a woman who is willing to follow him, or is single."

Women were two times as likely to take leave to support their partner's career, the study said. "This explains why marriage accelerates a man's career," said Seth Rockman, an associate professor of history at Brown University. "If men can continue to find wives who will abandon their professional aspirations to assist their husbands, well, that's it in a nutshell." Rockman, who is married Nummedal, called the statistics depressing. "The degree of backsliding in the current generation is stunning."

The gender breakdown within a department plays a significant role. Typically, there are more men than women within a discipline, and yet committees seek as much diversity as possible. Women, then, are often asked to do double the amount of service as men, a number that increases for women of color. While service is certainly considered when promoting, publications play a much larger role. Service takes time away from research, so women will have a harder time keeping up with the publishing output of their male counterparts.

"This is one of those places where the ability to say 'no' and pick where you should devote yourself to the university may have very different consequences," said Rockman, which is not to say that men are trying to avoid service entirely. Professors of both sexes do care a great deal about furthering an institutions goals and enriching the community, but men assert greater control over exactly how that happens.

And to conclude the authors say: When we look at these kinds of issues, whether it is the wage gap or child care, it becomes increasingly clear that there is a fundamental problem with the professional workplace, which is still best structured for single males, or males with wives who support their careers.

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This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License.