Accessible Requires Authentication Published by De Gruyter February 1, 2013

Underrepresentation of Women in the Academic Profession: A Comparative Analysis of the North American Region

Amy Scott Metcalfe and Laura Padilla González


The present study addresses women’s underrepresentation in the academic profession, as well as the need for policies and practices aimed at this issue. It compares underrepresentation of academic women in North American countries, and explores, throughout a bivariate analysis, personal, professional, as well as institutional variables related to this phenomenon. The results of the study, corroborated with national-level data on faculty in the focal countries, showed that the underrepresentation of full-time university faculty, in relation to the percentage of women who earned a PhD, was evident in the participating countries, regardless of the level of development of their economies, as well as of their higher education systems. The study shows that the select few women who remain in the system long enough to secure a tenure-track appointment are not only educational survivors, but also characteristically different from both the men and the women in their peer groups.

The authors would like to acknowledge that the Mexican Changing Academic Profession (CAP) survey has been possible thanks to support provided by the Undersecretariat of Higher Education, Ministry of Public Education, as well as by the Universidad Autonoma de Baja California. The contribution for this article was carried out on a sabbatical stay (2009-10) sponsored by the National Council of Science and Technology (CONACYT 000000000091853), and housed by the Centre for Policy Studies in Higher Education and Training (CHET) at the University of British Columbia (UBC). The Canadian CAP survey project has been housed since 2006 at CHET. Funding for the Canadian CAP survey has been provided by the Humanities and Social Sciences (HSS) Grant through UBC’s Faculty of Education.

Published Online: 2013-02-01

© 2013 by Walter de Gruyter GmbH & Co.