Best Practices in Gender Diversity

Women receive over 50% of doctorates in the United States, but they make up only 38% of the instructional workforce. Women faculty are more likely to have lower rank, less job security, and lower pay than their male colleagues.

A report from the American Federation of Teachers offers some concrete advice on how to remedy the gender gap in higher education. Their recommendations include:

  • Encourage the institution to develop a diversity mission and strategic plan.
  • Educate hiring committees about the plan and offer them training in gender bias.
  • Establish protocols for the hiring process.
  • Promote cluster-based hiring to bring in a cohort of women faculty.
  • Create a travel fund that allows faculty to take small children with them to academic conferences.
  • Measure departmental success against national benchmarks

These changes have more to do with prioritizing than providing additional resources. The pipeline problem can no longer be used as an excuse for the low representation of women faculty. By developing an overall plan and implementing concrete steps, a university can close the gender gap.

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