Men find academe more satisfying than women

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In a recent InsideHigherEd article (see: http://www.insidehighered.com/news/2010/07/12/coache), entitled " Job Satisfaction and Gender" published July 12, 2010, male professors have been found to be happier with working conditions than female professors, especially in the social sciences.  Says Cathy Trower, research director of COACHE, which is based at Harvard University: "...any university that thinks it has solved problems related to gender just by recruiting a critical mass of women may find otherwise."

Statistically Significant Gaps in Job Satisfaction, With Men Happier

Category Disciplines
Clarity of tenure process Social sciences; medical schools and health professions
Clarity of tenure criteria Social sciences
Clarity of tenure standards Social sciences; education
Clarity of tenure body of evidence Social sciences
Clarity of sense of achieving tenure Humanities; social sciences; agriculture, natural resources and environmental sciences; business; education
Consistent messages about tenure from tenured colleagues Social sciences
Tenure decisions based on performance Social sciences
Upper limit on committee assignments Education
Clarify of tenure expectations as a scholar Social sciences
Clarity of tenure expectations as a teacher Social sciences
Clarity of expectations as a colleague in department Engineering, computer science and mathematics
Reasonableness of expectations as a scholar Social sciences; biological sciences; health and human ecology; agriculture, natural resources and environmental sciences; business; education; medical schools and health professions
Reasonableness of expectations as a teacher Social sciences; education
Reasonableness of expectations as an adviser Education; medical schools and health professions
Way you spend your time as a faculty member Social sciences; engineering, computer science and mathematics; health and human ecology; business; education; medical schools and health professions
Number of hours you work as a faculty member Humanities; social sciences; engineering, computer science and mathematics; health and human ecology; business; education; medical schools and health professions
Quality of facilities Social sciences
Access to teaching assistants, research assistants Social sciences; visual and performing arts; medical schools and health professions
Clerical/administrative services Social sciences; physical sciences; education; medical schools and health professions
Number of courses you teach Biological sciences
Degree of influence over which courses you teach Social sciences; education
Discretion over course content Social sciences; education
Number of students you teach Medical schools and health professions
Upper limit on teaching obligations Education
Amount of time conducting research Humanities; social sciences; physical sciences; biological sciences; engineering, computer science and mathematics; health and human ecology; agriculture, natural resources and environmental sciences; business; education; medical schools and health professions
Expectations for finding external funding Social sciences; health and human ecology; education; medical schools and health professions
Influence over the focus of research Social sciences; health and human ecology
Research services Education
Institution makes having children and tenure track compatible Social sciences; physical sciences; visual and performing arts; education; medical schools and health professions
Institution makes raising children and tenure track compatible Social sciences; physical sciences; biological sciences; visual and performing arts; education; medical schools and health professions
Colleagues make having children and tenure track compatible Social sciences; medical schools and health professions
Colleagues make raising children and tenure track compatible Social sciences; biological sciences; business; medical schools and health professions
Colleagues are respectful of efforts to balance work and home Social sciences; agriculture,natural resources and environmental sciences; education
Ability to balance between professional and personal time Humanities; social sciences; biological sciences; visual and performing arts; engineering, computer science and mathematics; health and human ecology; agriculture, natural resources and environmental sciences; business; education; medical schools and health professions
Fairness of immediate supervisors' evaluations Social sciences
Opportunities to collaborate with tenured faculty Social sciences; physical sciences; health and human ecology; medical schools and health professions
Value faculty in your department place on your work Social sciences
Amount of professional interaction with tenured colleagues Social sciences; physical sciences; medical schools and health professions
Amount of personal interaction with tenured colleagues Physical sciences
Amount of professional interaction with pre-tenure faculty Agriculture, natural resources and environmental sciences
How well you fit Social sciences; business
Institutional collegiality Social sciences
Department as a place to work Social sciences
Would again work at this institution Social sciences
Overall rating of institution Social sciences



Statistically Significant Gaps in Job Satisfaction, With Women Happier

Category Disciplines
Travel funds Engineering, computer science and mathematics
Paid/unpaid research leave Engineering, computer science and mathematics
"Stop the clock" tenure policies Humanities; social sciences; engineering, computer science and mathematics; agriculture, natural resources and environmental sciences
Paid/unpaid personal leave Engineering, computer science and mathematics
Tuition waivers Visual and performing arts


Kiernan Mathews, director of COACHE, says that a "critical mass isn't going to be the silver bullet in female job satisfaction." "The job of our institutions doesn't stop with recruitment", says Matthews. Trower said she hoped that research universities would use the data as a starting point for discussions, discipline by discipline, to see where there are gender differences in job satisfaction (or lower satisfaction overall than is desirable). "This study is set up to start conversations with the faculty," she said.

For women who are starting their careers, and want mentors, that means it can be more difficult to chart a path.


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