working women

If You’re A Woman Working for a University, Life’s Not That Different than Corporate America

In the course of building Fairygodboss, I talked to many women, including academic types.  Through these conversations, I discovered it wasn’t just for-profit companies that needed more transparency and cultural change.  At colleges across America, female administrators, lecturers, graduate students and professors were telling me that they saw or personally experienced biased decision-making that impacted everything in their careers from mentorship, to salaries, promotions and tenure decisions.  However, I was still surprised to see the hard data I feature in this post about university faculty and staff (sourced primarily from this Bloomberg article) because the picture it paints is very clear.

I’ve written about business school before, when my focus was the female students.  Today, I’m writing about the faculty of business schools.  After all, business school faculty train burgeoning career women both explicitly — and implicitly, by example — about leadership and career advancement.  The Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business (AACSB) reports that 20% of full professors at business schools are women:

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If you include lecturers and more junior professors (e.g. associate or assistant), the percentage of women rises to almost 30%. However, the women that work at business schools tend to make less than their male counterparts, right out of the gate at the beginning of their careers.  This presumably is a gap that largely stays with them throughout their tenure:

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Perhaps unfairly, it seems especially wrong that this is happening at educational institutions, places where one typically believes that meritocracy trumps office politicians and less enlightened, biased behavior one might expect to find in a more cut-throat, less civilized corporate world.  Apparently, IQ levels, more flexible and self-directed schedules, and the pursuit of academic truth/excellence don’t end up making a woman’s career any easier than for those navigating the corporate world of office politics and shareholder profits.


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