Women in Academia

Academia is not for women! What does academic research say about that?

Women are underrepresented in academia, especially in tenured positions. In the last years, the literature shedding light on the reasons for this under-representation has grown steadily. There have been excellent presentations of the state of the art research in the past - Iris Bohnet's book "What works - Gender equality by design" is probably the most well know example.

On this web-page, we summarize some of the recent research papers explaining the under-representation of women.

We start our summary by stating common gender stereotypes such as "women just need to act like men to succeed in academia" or "academia is fair and objective - women are just not good enough". For each stereotype, we provide a short summary of the research and then list longer abstracts of the research papers investigating these stereotypes.

Afterwards, we present a section on "what works" (to cite Iris Bohnet). We present papers evaluating policies to reduce the gender gap in academia.

This collection of the literature is neither complete nor final. We just try to develop long abstracts that are accessible for people who are interested in the most recent research, but are not researchers in this field themselves (similar to the idea of Rebecca J. Kreitzer). Being interested in the reasons for the under-representation of women in academia, we focus on papers that try to establish causal relationships. Nevertheless, we are very aware that our selection will always be subjective.

If we miss any papers you would like to see here or if we misinterpreted the ones presented here, please let us know. We are very grateful for the tips and guidance. Please contact us.

Gender stereotypes in academia

And men struggle to compete

And women are just not good enough

And women just don't have the stamina

And don't be so feminine

They have other preferences

They have different passions

And therefore: Do real research instead!

What works?

Maybe this is also of interest

Take the test yourself

...we enjoyed reading

On gendered language

Latest added papers:

  • 12th of October: Born, A., Ranehill, E., & Sandberg, A. (2019). A Man's World? The Impact of a Male Dominated Environment on Female Leadership. Discussion paper. Here
  • 1st of November: Kaganovich, M., Taylor, M. & Xiao, R. (2019). Gender Differences in Persistence in a Field of Study, Discussion Paper. Here
  • 1st of November: Flory, J. A., Leibbrandt, A., Rott, C., & Stoddard, O. (2019). Increasing Workplace Diversity: Evidence from a Recruiting Experiment at a Fortune 500 Company. Journal of Human Resources, 0518-9489R1. Here
  • 11th of November: Abraham, L., & Stein, A. (2019) Words Matter: Experimental Evidence from Job Applications. Discussion paper Here
  • 17th of November: Quadlin, N. (2019). From Major Preferences to Major Choices: Gender and Logics of Major Choice. Sociology of Education. Here
  • 21th of November: Cox, A. R., & Montgomerie, R. (2019). The cases for and against double-blind reviews. PeerJ. Here
  • 28th of November: Chávez, K., & Mitchell, K. M. (2019). Exploring Bias in Student Evaluations: Gender, Race, and Ethnicity. PS: Political Science & Politics, 1-5. Here
  • 1st of December: We added a new section: How to increase the number of female applicants. Here