For this research proposal I will study what effects perceived and actual sexism on the upward mobility of women in academia. It is clear that sexism effects women’s progress in many facets of society. The gender gap is especially prominent in time consuming and intensive professions such as academia. This research seeks to explore the causal factors for the gender disparities in order to help develop effective solutions.
My research question is: what effects do real and perceived sexism have on women in academia? There are enormous disparities between the number of women that receive PhDs and the number of women that are tenured professors. I believe that gender roles within families, and employer’s, perceptions of mothers directly or indirectly affect women’s upward mobility in all professions. Through my qualitative and statistical analysis I will explore the institutionalized sexism in academia as well as how women’s self-perceptions affect their upward mobility. I ultimately intend to explore what portion of the sexism in academia is real or perceived; real sexism being direct and tangible disadvantages to women, and perceived sexism being disadvantages to women based on self-devaluing. In my opinion, sexism has been part of our society for so long that it is instill in women at an early age that they will not and cannot have the same mobility as men. This plays a major role in women’s lack of upward mobility in academia and other professions.
This research is significant to society because in order to reduce gender disparities we must fully understand their origins. This is an issue that affects all professional women and urgently needs to be addressed. It is important to move beyond professional structures that are more beneficial to men than women. The biological reality that bearing and raising children is more time consuming for women than men does not justify the affects that it has on women’s professional mobility.
The research topic of this proposal is to further investigate the reasons behind the gender disparities in employment, specifically in academia. Academia has larger gender disparities in comparison to other professions, which is compelling because in theory the most educated people should be the most perceptive and aware of sexism. My hypothesis is that this gender disparity can be primarily accredited to the real or perceived sexism related to family structures and women’s traditional roles as the primary care givers. There is ample literature on the topic, but my intent is to research specifically whether or not the sexism is implemented by the policies and structures of academic institutions, or it can be accredited to the traditional family structures that people generally adhere to.
Wolfinger, Mason and Goulden’s article, Problems in the Pipeline: Gender, Marriage, Fertility in the Ivory Tower, explores the reasons behind the lagging progress of women in academia. The article...