Date of Award
Bachelor of Arts
Academia, STEM, women
Women’s growing numerical representation in gender atypical careers, including the professoriate, has not necessarily meant that they are being accepted, included and integrated in these traditionally male-dominated spaces. This study explores female faculty members’ feelings of isolation within their department across academic disciplines. Drawing on the theory of tokenism, I hypothesize that women faculty members in STEM disciplines, which have been historically male-dominated, are more likely to express a lesser sense of belonging in their department, than women faculty members in the Social Sciences, Arts and Humanities. I analyzed data from a 2009 online survey administered to tenure-track and tenured faculty at two highly selective liberal arts colleges. After restricting my analysis to women, I controlled for women’s familial responsibilities as well as their position within the academic institution. Unlike previous research at universities, OLS regression analysis showed that women in STEM actually expressed a higher level of fitting in their department than those in other disciplines. Examining the two colleges separately revealed that this result only applied to women at the former men’s college, which had a long history of strong STEM departments. For women faculty at the former women’s college, whose historic strengths were in the Arts and Humanities rather than STEM, there was no statistically significant relationship between being in STEM and fitting in their department. Instead, women who indicated that they were married at the former women’s college expressed greater feelings of belonging than their unmarried female counterparts.
Olarsch, Samantha, "Women Faculty's Perceptions of Departmental Belonging Across Academic Disciplines" (2019). Sociology Senior Seminar Papers. 25.