Survey Shows Men Outnumber Women More Than 2-to-1 Among Tenured Faculty

A survey conducted by the American Association of University Professors showed a lack of tenured women professors at NYU, although the ratio was comparable to peer institutions.

NYU campus and flags.

Nearly all full-time professors at NYU — over 90% — have tenure, but fewer than 30% of them are women, according to a nationwide survey released by the American Association of University Professors in April.

College of Dentistry Professor Nicola Partridge, who is tenured, said she has not witnessed fewer women receiving tenure compared to men, but believes the disparity in the number of tenured female faculty is indicative of a larger trend in the United States.

“I was chair [of the dental school’s Basic Science and Craniofacial Biology department] from 2009 to 2018, and in that time I put up five women for tenure and three men, and they all received tenure at the first submission,” Partridge said. “It’s definitely true that the number of women drop off as you get to higher levels. That has been where our hope falls, that will be reversed — as more women progress down the career track, the numbers will become even.”

The data collected for the survey came from more than 950 colleges and universities, from community colleges to private research universities, and surveyed more than 380,000 full-time faculty members, though this group makes up less than half of faculty employed by universities nationwide. 

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According to a 2016 study conducted by the Teachers Insurance and Annuity Association of America, while diversity in academia overall is on the rise, women are still underrepresented on the tenure track. In 2013, women held nearly half of all faculty positions but only around 38% held tenured positions. At NYU, about 39% of full-time faculty are women and fewer than one-third are tenured.

Similar private and urban campuses also have a significant gender disparity in their full-time tenured faculty. Sitting slightly higher than NYU is American University with 33% of full-time tenured professors being women. Nearly the same as NYU is the University of Southern California at 30% and Columbia University at around 27%. Lower is Boston University, with only 23%.  

Women are more represented in associate professor and instructor positions at NYU, and actually make up the majority of associate professors. While full-time tenured professors at NYU who are women are paid only 90% the salary of men, this is greater than the national average of 82%.

Among professors, associate professors, assistant professors and instructors at NYU, the salaries between men and women at the associate professor level is most equitable, with women earning 97% of their male counterparts. Instructors experience the greatest disparity, with women’s salaries slightly below the national average of 81% of men’s salaries.

In a statement to WSN, NYU Vice Provost for Resource Planning Anthony Jiga said the university is continuing its efforts to increase female and minority representation in its faculty.

“We understand that the challenge of recruiting female faculty in the historically male-dominated fields — and keeping them in these positions — requires a more extensive approach than simply looking to fill faculty vacancies with more women,” Jiga said. “This approach involves developing a pipeline of potential hires, encouraging mentoring and leadership development, and ensuring other aspects of work life are conducive to female faculty feeling comfortable and valued within their respective departments.”

Jiga added that the university has a policy that allows tenure-track faculty who are also new parents to take time off work without having it affect their candidacy for tenure. He attributed the majority of the gap in pay between female and male faculty to fields of study.

“The academic disciplines and areas that command the highest salaries, such as economics, business or the surgical areas of medicine have the highest concentrations of male faculty,” Jiga said. “Conversely, those that are generally less remunerative across higher education — for example, French, social work, or pediatrics — are those in which women are more prevalent. As a result, while the gender pay disparity exists, it’s primarily not related to men being paid more for the same work.”

According to the survey, the mean salary for a full-time professor at NYU is $218,300. On average, men make $225,200, while women make $202,000.

Additional reporting by Emily Mason. 

A version of this article appeared in the Monday, May 6, 2019, print edition. Email Bethany Allard at [email protected]

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