As is readily apparent to anyone who has studied, considered, or experienced an academic career, many vital transition points and factors affect career choices and decisions. These encompass influences from as early as high school or middle school to decisions and opportunities until (and beyond) retirement. They include decisions or opportunities to pursue academic careers, work in industry or govern­ment, or take oneself out of the job market. They cover, of course, formal insti­tutional actions, such as those described here, as well as unofficial and unstated actions difficult to measure. And they include a myriad of personal characteristics, family circumstances, social pressures, opportunities, and experiences of female faculty members and those who might have become faculty. Many of the “whys” of the findings included here are buried in factors that the committee was unable to explore.

We do not know, for example, what happens to the significant percentage of female Ph. D.s in science and engineering who do not apply for regular, faculty positions at Research I institutions. Do they pursue faculty jobs at other universi­ties or colleges? Become clinical, adjunct, or research faculty members or other research personnel? Get postdocs? Take positions in industry or government? Opt out of the workforce altogether? Some factors to consider are:

Presence of role models and mentors


Parental influence

Family circumstances

Professional networks

Job market

Geographical restrictions

In the same vein, we do not know what happens to women faculty members who are hired and subsequently leave the university. The entire range of options available to new Ph. D.s is available to them, in addition to many institutional factors, such as:

Salary level

Likelihood of promotion

Denial of tenure

Institutional funding

Personal affinity for teaching or research

Family circumstances

Institutional climate


Social factors

For those who remain in regular faculty positions, the report does include impor­tant and new information on their individual characteristics, family circumstances, professional activities, and outcomes, as well as institutional resources and cli­mate. But even for this group, there are many factors affecting individual choices and institutional climate that we were unable to measure.

At the senior end of the academic career track, we know little about female full professors and what gender differences might exist at this stage of one’s career. This report does not include descriptions of special institutional programs or recognitions such as:

Salary adjustments Research support Named chairs or professorships Leadership positions