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From the President and Provost
April 14, 2009, Volume 55, No. 29

Click here to download the full report including the tables mentioned below.

The following report updates progress in improving the presence and experiences of women faculty at Penn since the publication of the comprehensive Gender Equity Report in 2001 and subsequent updates, the last on April 25, 2006.

—Amy Gutmann, President
—Vincent Price, Interim Provost

Progress Report On Gender Equity


A. The 2001 Gender Equity Report

In June 2000, the University charged a fourteen-member faculty committee with the work of systematically reviewing the status of women faculty at Penn.  On December 4, 2001, the Committee published a Gender Equity Report that looked broadly at four areas: faculty composition through 1999, the professional status of women faculty (with a focus on women’s representation in leadership positions throughout the University), faculty salaries, and perceptions of faculty quality of life obtained principally through surveys. (See Almanac December 4, 2001.) On the whole, the systematic review found that “problems reside primarily in individual departments rather than at the University-wide level.”

In the area of faculty composition, the Committee found that in 1999, women composed 23.8% of the standing faculty at Penn, with a very wide range of differences in representation among the schools, within disciplinary subgroups in the large schools, and at the departmental level. (At the school level, women’s representation ranged from a high of 97% in the School of Nursing, to a low of 6.4% in the School of Engineering and Applied Science.) Behind the 1999 snapshot, the Committee found that within a 1988 to 1998 time period, all schools other than the Law School had made considerable gains in the hiring of women faculty. 

The Report also documented the phenomenon of women’s diminishing representation with increasing rank, a trend faced by many large research universities. In 1999, women were 35% of the assistant professors at Penn, 23% of associate professors, and only 15% of full professors.

Major findings with respect to professional status included conclusions that while women held certain administrative positions in proportion to their numbers on the tenured faculty in the largest schools, women were underrepresented in holding department, endowed, and term chairs.  Faculty salary analyses indicated that while “women had slightly lower salaries than men” in most analyses, “only a few of these differences were statistically significant.” Although the Report found that men and women in both medical and non-medical fields performed similar work, women were more likely to feel that men were advantaged.

Based upon these findings, the Committee made a number of recommendations: (1) that the University “work with the deans to develop policies about hiring practices to ensure change, particularly in those departments whose hiring of women is not consistent with their numbers in the pool”; (2) that policies affecting the retention and promotion of Assistant Professors-Clinician Educator be evaluated for their disproportionate impact on faculty women; (3) that the University and deans “work together to develop policies that assure that women achieve leadership positions and scholarly rewards in schools and departments consistent with their interests and capabilities”; (4) that the equity of faculty salaries in all schools be reviewed, “with special attention to salaries of women faculty”; and (5) that the University and deans work together to find ways to alter climate considerations identified by the original Committee.

B. Subsequent Actions

Consistent with the Committee’s major finding that problematic processes were primarily local, the University published a response to the 2001 Report that asked the deans to prioritize gender equity in a number of ways, including enhanced measures of accountability and monitoring of many of the metrics that the Gender Equity Committee had used in its analyses. (See Almanac December 4, 2001.) In addition, the University agreed to regular reporting on progress in improving Penn’s gender equity profile, and did so in a series of updates that have kept the community apprised of faculty composition trends and major initiatives to advance gender equity goals. 1 

This Progress Report represents the sixth in a series of publications since the original Gender Equity Report aimed at updating the University community on the status of faculty gender equity at Penn. In issuing this update, we strive to revisit some of the analyses conducted by the original Committee, to assess progress in meeting goals relating to equity in hiring, retention, and promotion (including the retention and promotion of clinician-educators), the progress of women into leadership positions, salary equity, and the creation of a climate that is welcoming for women. 2


This update examines the historical progress and recent status of women faculty at Penn, focusing on: (a) the composition of the standing faculty across the University, schools, and departments; (b) recruitment and retention activity; (c) academic base salaries; and (d) representation in leadership positions in the University.

Major trends of note, outlined in more detail below, include the following:

1. Since 1999, the percentage of women on Penn’s standing faculty has grown by 3.8 percentage points, to 28.4% as of the fall of 2007. 3 Almost every school has shown an increase in the representation of women, with the exception of Nursing (where the percentage decreased by 5.7 percentage points, reflecting enhanced diversity).

2. Even though the University has seen gains in the representation of women at all ranks, we continue to find diminishing representation from entry into the tenure track to full professorship. As of the fall of 2007, women were 17.5% of full professors (up 2.5 percentage points from 1999), 29.7% of associate professors (up 6.7 percentage points from 1999), and 41.6% of assistant professors (up 6.6 percentage points). 

3. From the fall of 2003 to the fall of 2007, women accounted for nearly 38% of new hires into the standing faculty.

4. After adjusting for factors that influence salary and which are associated with gender, we find only very small salary differentials University-wide between men and women. These differentials, however, vary considerably among disciplinary groupings and ranks. 

5. As of the fall of 2008, women appear to hold most leadership positions and endowed chairs in roughly the same proportions as their representation among full professors. Women’s representation as holders of vice, associate, or deputy dean positions is, as a general matter, greater than their representation as full professors on the faculty; and while women continue to be underrepresented as holders of department chairs vis a vis their numbers in the full professoriate, that disparity appears to have lessened since publication of the original Gender Equity Report

Trends in Faculty Composition

A. Overview of the Faculties

We start with an overview of the changes in gender composition of our standing faculty in the years since publication of the original Report. 4 As shown in Table 1, the University has enhanced the gender composition of its faculty by nearly 4.0 percentage points since 1999, with almost every intervening year reflecting small but gradual changes toward a more diverse faculty. (An exception to the annual trend of increasing women’s representation occurred in 2004-2005, when representation dipped slightly.)   As of the fall of 2007, our standing faculty was 28.4% female.

While the overall trend of an increasingly female faculty is significant, progress has always been, and continues to be, uneven among schools.  Over this eight-year time frame, every school has shown a trend toward more women on the faculty, with only two exceptions: social sciences within SAS, where women’s representation declined 2.2 percentage points; and the clinical departments of the School of Dental Medicine, which reflected a similar 2.5 point decline. 5 The School of Nursing is a unique case, in that the 5.7 percentage point decline registered there actually reflected enhanced diversity.

Schools with the largest increases in the representation of women included: Annenberg (8.6 percentage point increase); Education (10.9 percentage points); Engineering and Applied Science (6.3 percentage points); and Veterinary Medicine (14.6 percentage points). (We also note that the basic sciences departments of the Dental School enhanced their representation of women considerably, from 15% in 1999 to over 29% in 2007.) 6

In terms of absolute representation, schools with the highest percentages of women—more than a third of their standing faculties—include Annenberg (35.3%); Design (40%); Education (56.1%); Nursing (92.3%); Social Policy & Practice (55.6%); and Veterinary Medicine (39.2%). The lowest percentages of female faculty­—less than a quarter of the standing faculties—are found in Dental Medicine (24.5%); Engineering and Applied Science (12.7%); Law (20.9%); and Wharton (19.3%).

These variations no doubt reflect to some extent the impact of doctoral and professional applicant-pool differences, and the fact that our twelve schools may be subject to varying pressures with respect to availability of candidates for faculty hiring. Notwithstanding these limitations, Penn and its peers clearly are both employers and educators of faculty candidates, and the work of encouraging doctoral and professional students to pursue academic careers represents an important aspect of progress toward gender equity.

B. Breakdowns by Rank and Department

Table 2 further disaggregates the faculty composition data by rank.  Consistent with the pattern identified in 2001 by the original Gender Equity Committee, women’s representation declines with increasing rank.  Women made up 17.5% of full professors in the fall of 2007, 29.7% of associate professors, and 41.6% of assistant professors. Since 1999 we have seen improvements in women’s representation at all ranks, with the proportion of full professors who are women up by 2.5 percentage points, of associate professors up by 6.7 percentage points, and of assistant professors up by 6.6 percentage points.

In several schools, over half of faculty in the junior ranks were women: Annenberg (66.7%), the humanities departments of SAS (62.2%), Design (85.7%), Education (70%), Law (66.7%), Nursing (92.3%), and Veterinary Medicine (58.9%). Some of these school-level trends are the result of the impact of a few individuals in very small groups of faculty, and efforts to maximize the hiring of women where pool limitations are less salient. Turning to the senior end of the rank continuum, on the other hand, women make up a small proportion of full professors in Engineering and Wharton (7.1% and 10.2%, respectively).

Patterns for clinician-educators (not shown separately in Table 1) are generally consistent with those for tenure-track and tenured faculty.  Again, greater proportions of women appear in junior ranks (except in Nursing, where the large majority of clinician-educator faculty are at the rank of associate).  In general, representation of women is somewhat higher in the clinician-educator track than for the standing faculty overall (33.8% of clinician-educators University-wide; 20.3% of full professors C-E; 31.3% of associate professors C-E; and 43.4% of assistant professors C-E).

Table 3, which disaggregates faculty counts by individual departments within schools, shows considerable variability in women’s representation across these units. Of particular note are departments of significant size (more than ten members) with faculties containing 10% or fewer women: Mathematics (7.7%), Economics (10%), Electrical and Systems Engineering (9.1%), Neurosurgery (0%), Orthopaedic Surgery (6.3%), and Operations and Information Management (8.3%). The representation of women in these departments may reflect the larger trend of challenges that the STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math) fields have faced in the retention and promotion of women faculty. On the other hand, as Table 3 illustrates, a number of other STEM departments at Penn have recruited women in numbers at least over the 10% threshold, including Chemistry (12.9%), Physics and Astronomy (16.7%), Computer and Information Science (13.3%), Materials Science and Engineering (27.3%), and Mechanical Engineering and Applied Mechanics (14.3%). 7

Retention and Turnover

Table 4 presents the dynamic picture of faculty hiring and retention within a four-year window, from the fall of 2003 to the fall of 2007.  For the University as a whole, the hiring of women exceeded departures, contributing to the overall growth in the number of women in the standing faculty. While women made up 28.4% of our standing faculty in 2007 (Table 1), they accounted for over 37% of new hires over the preceding four-year period (19% of full professor hires and over 40% of associate and assistant professor hires), reflecting the central role of faculty hiring and retention in outpacing attrition through losses to other institutions, retirements, and departures from academia.

Although breakdowns by school are not included in Table 4, the proportions of women among new hires exceeded their proportions among departures in nearly all schools. The exceptions were Law and Social Policy & Practice, where female hires equaled female departures; and Dental Medicine and Nursing, where women made up a slightly higher proportion of departures than they did of new hires.

Peer Comparisons

Peer comparisons provide a useful means of creating context for these data, assessing competitive pressures, and identifying structural barriers and shared strategies that might be used to overcome our progress toward gender equity goals. Table 5 shows the percentage of women in full-time tenure stream (tenured and tenure-track) faculty at a number of Penn peers for the 2007-2008 academic year. (Note that these data, which exclude executive administrators, deans, and clinician-educators and adhere to definitions supplied by the AAUP, follow different inclusion criteria and thus do not match precisely figures in Tables 1 through 4.)

Like Penn, all of the other research universities included in Table 5 follow the trend of declining female representation with increasing academic rank.  Although Penn fares well in these comparisons overall, the drop-off with increasing rank appears more pronounced at Penn, which ranks high for assistant professors (2 of 17), but lower with respect to representation of associate and full professors (5 of 17 and 9 of 17, respectively). Overall, Penn is in the upper third of the group, ranking 5th among these 17 Ivy-plus peers.

Academic Base Salaries

The 2001 Report included an analysis of whether a faculty member’s gender affected his or her salary in the 1999-2000 academic year, but this aspect of gender equity has not been revisited in subsequent progress reports. The most recent report of the Senate Committee on the Economic Status of Faculty (Almanac July 15, 2008) compared mean and median 2007-08 academic base salaries of men and women by rank and found that, at all ranks, salaries of men exceeded those of women by roughly 10%. Weighting salaries by the proportions of men and women faculty across the 12 schools (and separating humanities, social sciences, and natural sciences in SAS) eliminated most of these differentials for faculty at the assistant or associate ranks, but not for full professors, where a 6% differential remained. However, these differentials may well confound gender with other relevant differences that affect compensation.

Salary levels differ among faculty members for many reasons, including most notably variations in the competitive markets and compensation levels associated with particular fields, as well as professional experience, reflected in the years passed since obtaining one’s terminal degree, academic rank, and time spent in rank. To isolate gender differences, then, it is important to account for any systematic differences between men and women in these sorts of characteristics, and to compare to the extent possible equivalently qualified groups of men and women faculty members. 8  Focusing on 2007-2008 academic-year base salaries, we examined whether there is any difference in salary by gender, after adjusting for potential gender differences in characteristics (experience, rank, and department).  

A. Time in Rank
The higher salaries among men than among women found by the Senate Committee on the Economic Status of the Faculty (SCESF) may result in part from systematic differences in time in rank. While time in rank is limited by mandatory review at the assistant professor level and is thus roughly equivalent for men and women at that rank, among associate professors men have spent on average about one year longer in rank than their female colleagues, and among professors men have spent on average about three years longer in rank.  We thus cross-tabulated salaries by school (separating humanities, social sciences, and natural sciences in SAS), academic rank, and approximate quartiles for time in rank. While this breakdown permits potentially over a hundred different gender comparisons within comparable subgroups, only 37 such subgroups include at least two men and two women to compare. 9  In 22 such comparisons, we find that the mean salaries for men are higher than those of comparable women (by an average of 8%), while 15 comparisons show that mean salaries for women are higher than those of comparable men (by an average of 5.5%). Thus, while controlling for time in rank may reduce the estimated gap in salaries, a slight differential of higher average salaries for men than for women remains in these tabulations.

B. Departmental Variations

Both the breakdowns reported above and the SCESF analyses differentiate only among relatively gross differences by school and area (humanities, social sciences, and natural sciences within SAS). There are, in fact, considerable variations in salaries between departments even within schools and disciplinary groupings.  For instance, within SAS, salaries in the Department of Economics, with 10% of its faculty being female, are markedly higher than those in the Department of Sociology, where well over a third of the faculty is female; and in Wharton, average salaries in Finance (12.5% female) are considerably higher than in Business and Public Policy (40% female). 

One way to account for these variations is to examine salaries in relation to the average or median salary within a faculty member’s own department. For the University as a whole, as of the fall of 2007, 46% of tenure-stream men were paid academic base salaries above their respective departmental median, and 41% of women were paid above the departmental median. 10 In engineering and the natural sciences, more women than men (51% as compared to 44%) were paid above the medians for their respective departments. Similarly, in the social sciences, 45% of women as compared to 42% of men were paid above median salaries.  Conversely, in the health sciences, law and business, and arts and humanities, the percentages of men paid above medians exceeded those of women (48%, 46%, and 47% for men, respectively; and 37%, 39%, and 37% for women, respectively). When examined by rank, the data indicate that 49% of male full professors were paid above the departmental median salary, compared with 39% of women. Among associate professors, 41% of men are above the departmental median, compared with 47% of women; and among assistant professors, 44% of male assistant professors were paid above the median, compared with 38% of women.

C. Modeling Salaries

Given that several factors associated with gender can simultaneously influence faculty salaries, we conducted regression analyses, along the lines followed in the 2001 Report, to predict salaries as a linear function of multiple variables including gender, race, rank, time in rank, and departmental appointment. 11 The aim of such predictive models is to isolate the estimated impact of gender on salary after accounting for the variations attributable to other factors, effectively rendering an estimate of the difference in predicted salary among otherwise equivalent men and women.

University-wide, the estimated effect of gender on salaries after controlling for race, rank, time in rank and individual department is small, a difference of less than 2% lower for women, and of a magnitude that would not be statistically significant. Separate analyses were also conducted within each school and rank, controlling for race and time in rank (but not individual department). 12 Results generally mirrored those conducted in 2001, although the estimated magnitude of differences in salaries by gender is now considerably smaller. Twenty regression analyses within school by rank provide at least twenty individual cases for analysis, and, of these regressions, eleven estimate men’s salaries to be higher than women’s (ranging from .05% to 8.0% higher, and averaging 3.2% higher); the other nine regressions estimate women’s salaries to be higher than men’s (ranging from .87% to 5.9% higher, and averaging 2.5% higher). None of the differences represented a pattern sufficiently strong to yield a statistically significant difference.

Women in Leadership Positions

The Office of the Provost collected data on women’s representation among holders of endowed chairs; associate, vice, and deputy deans; department chairs and division heads; and deans. 

As a general matter, women on the Penn faculty appear to hold endowed professorships in roughly the same proportions as their representation as full professors. 13 As of November 30, 2008, Penn had 392 endowed professorships awarded to faculty, and these were occupied by men and women in numbers remarkably similar to their representation as full professors on the faculty: 314 (80%) of the professorships were held by men (81% of full professors as of the same date), and 78 (20%) of the professorships were held by women (19% of full professors). In our largest schools (the Schools of Arts and Sciences, Engineering and Applied Science, Medicine, and Wharton), the proportions of women holding endowed chairs were similarly quite close to the percentages of full professors. For example, in SAS, 23% of endowed chairs were held by women, who constituted 22% of full professors. In SEAS, women were 8% of endowed chair holders and 8.5% of full professors. Both Medicine and Wharton showed slight gaps in representation: women were 12% of the endowed chairs in Medicine, but 16% of full professors, and 10% of the endowed chairs in Wharton, but 12% of full professors. 

Women’s representation as associate, vice, and deputy deans was examined for FY07, FY08, and FY09. While the relatively small numbers of these positions even within large schools can skew trends, women, on the whole, were represented in these positions in proportions equal to or greater than their representation in the full professoriate. 14 In FY07, women held 31.5% of these positions in the University, and in the fall of 2006 (the mid-point of that fiscal year), they constituted 17.5% of full professors. In FY08 and the fall of 2007, women were 29.5% of associate, vice, or deputy deans, and 17.5% of full professors, respectively; and in FY08, women held 29% of these positions, while they were 19% of full professors. Again, because of the small numbers of administrative positions at issue in each school, school-level trends are difficult to discern. In Medicine (the only school with a significant number of sub-dean positions), the University phenomenon of women’s greater representation as associate and vice deans than full professors was replicated for each of the years examined. For the past three academic years, women also constituted a third (four out of twelve) of Penn’s deans. 

Women continue to be underrepresented as department chairs, but to a lesser degree than identified by the original Gender Equity Committee.  As of the fall of 2006, women were 14.6% of chairs, and 17.5% of full professors.  In 2007, women’s representation among the full professorship held steady, while the percentage of chairs who were female dropped to 9.6%. As of November 2008, women were 17% of department chairs and 19% of full professors. (By way of comparison, the Gender Equity Committee found that in the academic year 1999-2000, women were 6.5% of chairs, and 12.5% of full professors—a differential of 6 percentage points). 

Recent University Initiatives

Since the publication of the University’s last update on gender equity (Almanac April 25, 2006), a number of initiatives have been undertaken to continue progress toward increasing representation of women on the faculty, promotion to tenure, enhanced work/life balance, improved climate, and overall improvements in our ability to readily take accurate measure of gender-equity metrics. 

With respect to our abilities to recruit the best women faculty:

• Since 2001, Penn has participated annually in “MIT 9” meetings with its peers in order to discuss the recruitment and retention of women in the sciences.

• During the 2006-2007 academic year, Dr. Shelley Correll, a leading expert on gender inequality and social psychology, was commissioned to survey the literature on unconscious bias. Her review was circulated to deans, department chairs, search and personnel committee chairs, and others involved in the schools’ appointment processes, and also discussed at faculty recruitment workshops for department chairs.

• The Faculty Opportunity Fund provides centralized support for the recruitment and retention of faculty members who will, in the dean’s opinion, make extraordinary contributions to faculty scholarship and diversity and add distinctive strength to the University overall. 

• During the 2006-2007 academic year, Penn began discussions relating to membership in a Higher Education Recruitment Consortium (HERC) that would assist in placement of dual-career academic couples, frequently an issue in the recruitment of women faculty.  Penn is a founding member of a new NJ-Eastern Pennsylvania-Delaware region HERC, and a website is now in place on which dual career couples can search for two positions within prescribed disciplines or geographic parameters.  (See www.njherc.org/home/index.cfm?site_id=685.)

• In fall 2008, the Office of the Provost offered training to search committee members on best practices in academic searches, avoiding unconscious bias in hiring, and University resources for recruitment.  Chairs and search committee members were also invited to a regional HERC meeting that featured a presentation by the Cornell Interactive Theater Ensemble on latent bias in hiring.

• Over the course of the 2007-2008 academic year, the University began implementation of an electronic Faculty Recruitment System that provides electronic posting of all faculty positions, with the goal of broadening applicant pools for searches.

Initiatives to support promotion, retention, and improved working climate:

• During the 2006-2007 academic year, the University introduced a number of new “family-friendly” policies designed to improve faculty members’ work-life balance, including new policies on extension of the tenure track, reduction of duties, and teaching relief related to the entry of a new child into the home through birth, adoption, or foster care. (See Almanac February 28, 2006.)

• In order to publicize these and other University benefits, informational brochures were commissioned by the Office of the Provost, distributed to every standing faculty member in the fall of 2008, and made available to deans, department chairs, and search committee members.  The brochures can also be viewed on the Provost’s website at www.upenn.edu/provost/work_life_balance/, along with other information about available benefits.

• Significant work has been undertaken relating to enhancement of mentoring for all faculty. In May 2006, the University issued guidelines for mentoring programs that requested that each school establish a mentoring initiative, provide a mentor to each junior faculty member, and exercise dean-level oversight of the program. (See Almanac May 23, 2006.) In response to these guidelines, each of the 12 schools has established its own program, issued a formal statement of its parameters, and named a faculty member as a mentoring “facilitator” to act as a contact person for the program. 

• A memo on “mentoring across difference” (mentoring relationships in which mentor and protégé do not share the same gender, race, etc.) was commissioned by the University.  Authored by Dr. Cathy Ann Trower of Harvard University’s Collaborative on Academic Careers in Higher Education (COACHE), the memo is available on the Provost’s website at www.upenn.edu/provost/mentoring/.

• In March 2008, Dr. Mary Croughan, an expert on mentoring relationships and evaluation of mentoring programs, came to Penn to meet with mentoring program facilitators and Faculty Senate members regarding best practices in faculty mentoring relationships and assessment and evaluation of mentoring programs; see available materials on the Provost’s website at www.upenn.edu/provost/mentoring/.

• In fall 2007, the Office of the Provost sponsored a presentation on diversifying the faculty by Professor Martha Pollack, a graduate of Penn’s School of Engineering and Applied Science and now Dean of the School of Information at the University of Michigan.

• In the 2008-2009 academic year, the Office of the Provost piloted a new department chairs’ training program to provide training on maximizing leadership potential, resolving difficult situations with colleagues, and University resources available to chairs. Individual coaching was also made available to the chairs. 

• The University has issued new guidelines for annual reviews of faculty, proposing greater transparency of procedures, enhanced school oversight, and improved communication with faculty members regarding the content of annual reviews. (See Almanac February 24, 2009.) 

• In collaboration with the Trustees’ Council of Penn Women, the Office of the Provost will be jointly sponsoring a new award of recognition for faculty (male or female), either individuals or groups of collaborators, whose achievements have significantly advanced the role of women in the Penn community. The $5000 award will be presented for the first time in the 2009-2010 academic year, with nominations solicited in fall 2009 and the award announced by spring 2010.

• Plans are underway for the creation of a new Faculty Women’s Forum at Penn. With support from the Trustees’ Council of Penn Women and a tentative launch next academic year, this Forum, representing all women on the standing faculty, can play a role in building improved faculty networks for women, promoting best practices in mentoring, and hosting events of interest to women on the faculty. 

To further assessment and accountability:

• During the 2007-2008 and 2008-2009 academic years, the Provost and the Associate Provost for Faculty Affairs met with the deans to review new standardized reports of faculty composition, including gender composition of the faculties by rank and department, time in rank, and anticipated tenure reviews, addressing significant issues of gender equity.  Data pulled from the Faculty Information System have also been used to generate, for the first time, standard reports of promotion and retention trends, by school and University-wide.

• The University is currently working on enhancements to the Faculty Recruitment System that will allow better reporting on faculty searches.  The system might also allow future updates to include information on the pools of candidates for faculty positions.

• A web-based system of faculty exit interviews has been implemented.  Over time, the system should prove fruitful in assessing trends relevant to faculty retention and attrition.

• The University is currently working on a new web-based interface to our existing payroll system that will more effectively categorize and disaggregate categories of faculty compensation, allowing for more meaningful and accurate compensation comparisons over time.

• Plans are underway to develop a survey of standing faculty that should permit more effective assessment of faculty perceptions of their work at Penn, understanding of University programs and policies, and particular concerns of faculty subgroups, including women.

In addition to these central initiatives, several of Penn’s schools have launched their own innovative programs to address the needs of women in academe. Outstanding examples include the School of Medicine’s FOCUS on Health and Leadership for Women, which conducts annual monitoring studies of the school’s faculty and the role of women in school academic leadership; sponsors regular lunchtime seminars on women’s health and women’s faculty development; and hosts an annual conference on the professional needs of women in the health sciences (See www.focusprogram.org.) In the School of Engineering and Applied Science, the Advancing Women in Engineering (AWE) program has worked with middle-school girls to interest them in engineering, math, and science; offered a pre-orientation program for new students entering the school; and launched mentoring opportunities for women on the faculty. 

Moving Forward

Progress continues to be made, albeit slowly, on the very important issue of ensuring gender equity on Penn’s faculty, and there is much more to do.  We commit to further and increasingly nuanced analyses of the state of gender equity at Penn; to working with the University community to further gender equity goals; and to supporting the schools and departments in their many excellent efforts to continue to advance Penn in terms of women’s representation and experiences at Penn. To these ends, we welcome a continuing dialogue on this subject so critical to Penn’s success.


1 Updates were published in Almanac on November 19, 2002; December 16, 2003; April 27, 2004; April 19, 2005; and April 25, 2006.  Going forward, it is anticipated that Gender Equity Progress Reports will be issued on a bi-annual schedule, in order to permit sufficient time for comprehensive review of the state of gender equity and meaningful intervening change between updates. It is also planned that a more consistent format for reporting might be developed, to allow more ready and meaningful comparisons of gender equity from update to update and more standardized collection of University data.

2 While an assessment of faculty perceptions was not included in this update, one is planned.  In addition, a number of programs have been undertaken to show visible commitments to women’s success at Penn. See Recent University Initiatives. 

3 This increase is based on the 1999 University total in Table 1, which differs by 0.8% from the 1999 University total in the original Gender Equity Report.

4 Historical data reported in this progress report may differ slightly from prior publications due to variances in the “snapshot” dates used for year-to-year comparisons, assumptions used in the collection of data, and the limitations of historical sources of faculty data (which are now being substituted with newer systems, see Recent University Initiatives, on page S-8). 

5 School-wide, both Arts and Sciences and Dental Medicine showed an increase in women’s representation when all departments are aggregated (SAS increased by 3.6 percentage points, SDM by 3.2).

6 This increase in the proportion of women has accompanied an overall decline in the size of these faculties, such that women were 3 out of 20 faculty members in 1999 and 5 out of 17 in 2007.

7 It also bears noting that two research centers in STEM fields—the Laboratory for Research on the Structure of Matter (LRSM) and the Nano/Bio Interface Center —have successfully recruited women in significant numbers. 

8 Of course, individual salaries ought to reflect all relevant qualifications that vary among faculty members, and not every one of these will enter into gender-equity comparisons; rather, we focus only on those main factors that differ systematically between men and women.

9 This figure excludes executive administrators and deans, clinician-educators, and faculty whose home departments are clinical.

10 As above, this figure excludes executive administrator and deans, clinician-educators, and faculty whose home departments are clinical.

11 Some key differences between the present analyses and those reported in 2001 should be noted. Rather than control for specific departmental appointments, the 2001 analyses grouped faculty as follows: SAS sciences, SAS humanities, SAS social sciences, Wharton, Veterinary Medicine, Dental Medicine, Law, SOM basic science departments, SOM clinical departments, and a grouping of faculty in Annenberg, Graduate School of Fine Arts, Graduate School of Education, and School of Social Work. For SAS social sciences, the analysis controlled for whether or not the faculty member was in economics, and, in Wharton, whether the faculty member was in a high-pay, medium-pay, or low-pay department. The 2001 analyses also included time since degree rather than time in rank. Here, we included only basic science departments in SOM (owing to complications in handling clinical salaries) and included variables indicating specific departmental appointments. Because of a large number of missing data on time since degree, we included time in rank.

12 Excepting the analysis of SAS social sciences, which included a variable indicating appointment in Economics.

13 While the original Gender Equity Committee compared women’s representation as endowed chairs to their numbers as associate and full professors, comparisons for leadership positions in this update focus on full professorship, as the majority of endowed chairs, sub-dean positions, and department chairmanships are held by full professors.

14 The original Gender Equity Report found that women held these mid-level positions in roughly the same proportions as their numbers in the tenured faculty, suggesting some improvement in women’s standing in this dimension since the 2001 Report.

Click here to download the full report including the tables mentioned above.


Almanac - April 14, 2009, Volume 55, No. 29