How To Reach C&ENACS Membership Number


September 23, 2002
Volume 80, Number 38
CENEAR 80 38 pp. 110-111
ISSN 0009-2347

Women hold just 21% of tenure-track positions, although they earn 31% of Ph.D.s


Each year since the turn of the century, C&EN has surveyed the top 50 chemistry departments to determine how many women are tenured or hold tenure-track faculty positions. And for three years, the answer has been the same: not very many, though their numbers are slowly inching up.

In the 2002–03 academic year, women represent 12% of the total chemistry faculty at the 50 institutions iden-tified by the National Science Foundation as having spent the most on chemical research in 2000, the latest year for which data are available. Women accounted for 11% in 2001–02 (C&EN, Oct. 1, 2001, page 98) and 10% in 2000–01 (Sept. 25, 2000, page 56).

Among the ranks of assistant and associate professors, women fill about twice that percentage of the positions. These numbers aren't quite as bad as they seem, given that women aren't as likely as men to pursue a doctorate in chemistry. According to NSF data, women earn somewhat less than one-third of these degrees.

For the C&EN survey, schools were contacted by e-mail or telephone. The institutions provided the number of tenured and tenure-track faculty holding full, associate, and assistant professorships with at least 50% of their salaries paid by the chemistry department for the 2002–03 academic year. These figures exclude emeriti and lecturers.

New to this year's list of top 50 schools are Emory University, Michigan State University, North Carolina State University, and Virginia Polytechnic Institute & State University, which was on the list in 2000. Not making the 2002 list but on it in 2001 were the State Universities of New York, Buffalo and Stony Brook; the University of Maryland, College Park; and Yale University. The new schools have 11 women faculty, whereas the schools they replaced had 15.

Primarily because of the change in schools in this year's top 50 list, the total faculty count has dropped. The total slipped from 1,640 last year to 1,630 this year, while the number of women faculty members has risen from 181 to 188. In the first year of the survey, the schools surveyed reported 1,641 faculty, of whom 172 were women. Among the 46 universities that appeared in both this year's and last year's survey, however, the number of total faculty rose by two to 1,514, and the number of women faculty increased by 11 to 177.

The ranks of full professors have thinned, again because of the change in top 50 schools. In the first year of the survey, there were 1,109 full professors, of whom 6% were women. In the second year, there were 1,106, 7% women. This year there are just 1,082. Again, 7% are women.

Share of chemistry faculty positions at top 50 universities is still only about one in eight

THE TOTAL NUMBER of assistant professors, 308, is up slightly from last year's 301 and the previous year's 303. There are now 66 women assistant professors, compared with 61 last year and 56 in 2000–01. Respectively, these numbers represent 21%, 20%, and 18% shares of the assistant professorships in those years.

The number of associate professors also has risen slightly. In the current year, there are 239 associate professors, 20% of whom are women. Last year, the numbers were 233 and 20%; and the previous year, 229 and 21%.

?Some changes have occurred among the schools with the highest percentage of women in the total faculty. The University of Kansas, with seven women professors, accounting for 29% of its faculty, is now in first place. The institution changed positions with Rutgers, whose 10 women account for 26% of the faculty. Pennsylvania State University remains in third place, with seven women professors, who make up 22% of its faculty. Next comes the University of California, Los Angeles, with a 20% female faculty, or 11 women. It's followed by two universities at which women make up 18% of the faculty: Purdue University, with nine women, and the University of Colorado, Boulder, with seven.

Other institutions that employ more than 10% female faculty are Arizona State University; California Institute of Technology; Florida State University; Harvard University; Massachusetts Institute of Technology; Michigan State University; Princeton University; Texas A&M University; the University of Akron; the University of Arizona; UC Irvine; the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign; the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill; and the University of Oklahoma.

Those schools with the highest share of female assistant professors--which may be an indicator of a welcoming environment for future job applicants who are just beginning their careers--include the University of Kansas (57%), Louisiana State University (50%), Pennsylvania State University (44%), UCLA (44%), and the University of Washington (40%).

At the bottom of the list are four schools that have only one tenure-track woman faculty member--Emory, Johns Hopkins University, Stanford University, and the University of Virginia. Eleven of the schools have just two women on the chemistry department faculty.


Additional articles on women chemists in the workplace may be found in C&EN Online at


Chemical & Engineering News
Copyright © 2002 American Chemical Society

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