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Publications: Gender Studies in Mathematics, Other Sciences, and Society

  1. Gail Letzter and Marie A. Vitulli, The Crucial Work of the AWM Policy and Advocacy Committee   (Also available as a downloadable pdf), July 2020.
    This is a draft of an article that was submitted to an upcoming volume aimed at a general audience.


  2. Marie A. Vitulli, Statistics on Women in Mathematics, Table of Statistics on Women in the Profession from AWM Notices Issue for 1985 - 2016. Trends in data are easily observable in this table.


  3. Marie A. Vitulli, Writing Women in Mathematics into Wikipedia (downloadable pdf), October 2017. (An abbreviated version of this article appeared in the Notices of the American Mathematical Society, 65 no. 3, 330-334 (2018); the full article is posted on the arXiv:1710:11103v3)
    In this article Prof. Vitulli reflects upon the problems connected with writing women in mathematics into Wikipedia. She discusses some of the current projects and efforts aimed at increasing the visibility of women in mathematics on Wikipedia. She presents the rules for creating a biography on Wikipedia and relates her personal experiences in creating such articles. She hopes to provide the reader with the background and resources to start editing existing Wikipedia articles and the confidence to create new articles.


  4. Marie A. Vitulli, Gender Differences in First Jobs for New US PhDs in the Mathematical Sciences
            (downloadable pdf), October 2017.(An abbreviated version of this article appeared in the Notices of the American Mathematical Society, 65 no. 3, 326-329 (2018); the full article is posted on the arXiv:1710:11256v1)
    Abstract: In this study we investigate employment patterns for new PhDs in mathematics between 1991 and 2015 with an eye toward gender, citizenship and gender and citizenship differences in unemployment rates, patterns of job types, and comparable employment rates, which we explain in section three. The data we analyze comes from the Report on New Doctoral Recipients (from U.S. institutions), which is part of the Annual Survey of the Mathematical Sciences published by the American Mathematical Society (AMS). The Report contains data on jobs both in and outside of academia and in and outside the U.S. The data show that the unemployment rate for women has been equal to or lower than the rate for men during most of the last quarter century. The one exception is that between 2012 and 2015 the unemployment rate for women who are not U.S. citizens was higher than the rate for non-citizen men. The unemployment rates are higher for males who are U.S. citizens than for non-citizen males in the last fifteen years, a puzzling trend. The data show that men from all pure math programs are considerably more likely than women to take jobs at the top-ranking and top-producing math departments. The data show women take jobs at departments in which the highest degree is a bachelor's degree at substantially higher rates and men take jobs in business and industry at considerably higher rates. We also find that men from the top-ranking or top-producing doctoral programs tend to be likely to take jobs at academic institutions or research institutes on a par with their degree-granting institutions.


  5. Chad M. Topaz, Shilad Sen, Gender Representations on Journal Editorial Boards in the Mathematical Sciences, PLOS submission; ArXiV June 20, 2016.
    Abstract: We study gender representation on the editorial boards of 435 journals in the mathematical sciences. Women are known to comprise approximately 15% of tenure-stream faculty positions in doctoral-granting mathematical sciences departments in the United States. Compared to this pool, the likely source of journal editorships, we find that 8.9% of the 13067 editorships in our study are held by women. We describe group variations within the editorships by identifying specific journals, subfields, publishers, and countries that significantly exceed or fall short of this average. To enable our study, we develop a semi-automated method for inferring gender that has an estimated accuracy of 97.5%. Our findings provide the first measure of gender distribution on editorial boards in the mathematical sciences, offer insights that suggest future studies in the mathematical sciences, and introduce new methods that enable large-scale studies of gender distribution in other fields.
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  7. Emily Liner, A Dollar Short: What’s Holding Women Back from Equal Pay?, Third Way, March 18, 2016.
    Article takeaways:
    • The 79 cents to the dollar figure cited as the gender pay ratio for full-time workers is real.
    • Hourly wage data show a pay ratio of 85 cents, indicating that the pay gap cannot be fully explained by the fact that men tend to work more hours than women.
    • The pay ratio worsens from 90 cents to 81 cents as women move from the early to middle stages of their careers.
    • Occupations with more female workers pay less than those with more male workers, by a ratio of 83 cents to the dollar.
    • Women still make less than men after accounting for differences in job type, job level, experience, education, hours worked, and location—which proves bias in the workplace also contributes to the gender pay gap.
    • A single fix alone will not close the gap; rather, it will require targeted solutions to its various causes.


  8. Asaf Levanon, Paula England, Paul Allison, Occupational Feminization and Pay: Assessing Causal Dynamics Using 1950 − 2000 U.S. Census Data, Social Forces, Vol. 88, Issue 2 (2016), 865-891.
    Occupations with a greater share of females pay less than those with a lower share, controlling for education and skill. This association is explained by two dominant views: devaluation and queuing. The former views the pay offered in an occupation to affect its female proportion, due to employers’ preference for men − a gendered labor queue. The latter argues that the proportion of females in an occupation affects pay, owing to devaluation of work done by women. Only a few past studies used longitudinal data, which is needed to test the theories. We use fixed‐effects models, thus controlling for stable characteristics of occupations, and U.S. Census data from 1950 through 2000. We find substantial evidence for the devaluation view, but only scant evidence for the queuing view.
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  10. Claire Cain Miller, As Women Take Over a Male-Dominated Field, The Pay Drops, NY Times, Economic View, March 18, 2016.
    This NY Times article discusses several studies that look into the effect of gender bias on salaries. There are links to the published studies, which makes the article quite informative.
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  12. Cathy Kessel and Marie A. Vitulli, Critique of “Understanding current causes of women’s underrepresentation in science”.
    The 2011 article Understanding current causes of women’s underrepresentation in science by Stephen Ceci and Wendy Williams (Proc. of the National Academy of Sciences, February 7, 2011) has left some of us with more questions than answers. The authors conclude that overt discrimination in publishing and hiring is no longer a deterrent after conducting a statistical analysis. Other scientists point out statistical errors, gaps in reasoning, and omission of relevant research. Instead of discrimination, Ceci and Williams propose 3 factors that explain the underrepresentation of women in “math-intensive” sciences: fertility/lifestyle choices, career preferences, and mathematics ability.

    Both the Association for Women in Mathematics (AWM) and the Association for Women in Science (AWIS) have featured criticisms of the Ceci and Williams article on their websites. Former AWM President Cathy Kessel and Univerity of Oregon Math Professor Marie Vitulli wrote a widely-cited critique which you can read here. Links to this critique as well as other reactions to this and other recent works by Ceci and Williams can be found on the AWM website. Here is a link to the AWM home page where you can read more about this topic and find additional resources.

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  14. N. M. Else-Quest, J. S. Hyde, M. C. Linn, Cross-national patterns of gender differences in mathematics:A meta-analysis, Psychological Bulletin 136 no. 1, 103-127.
    From the article: A gender gap in mathematics achievement persists in some nations but not in others. In light of the underrepresentation of women in careers in science, technology, mathematics, and engineering, increasing research attention is being devoted to understanding gender differences in mathematics achievement, attitudes, and affect. The gender stratification hypothesis maintains that such gender differences are closely related to cultural variations in opportunity structures for girls and women. We meta-analyzed 2 major international data sets, the 2003 Trends in International Mathematics and Science Study and the Programme for International Student Assessment, representing 493,495 students 14–16 years of age, to estimate the magnitude of gender differences in mathematics achievement, attitudes, and affect across 69 nations throughout the world. Consistent with the gender similarities hypothesis, all of the mean effect sizes in mathematics achievement were very small (d < 0.15); however, national effect sizes showed considerable variability (ds = 0.42 to 0.40). Despite gender similarities in achievement, boys reported more positive math attitudes and affect (ds =0.10 to 0.33); national effect sizes ranged from d = 0.61 to 0.89. In contrast to those of previous tests of the gender stratification hypothesis, our results point to specific domains of gender equity responsible for gender gaps in math. Gender equity in school enrollment, women’s share of research jobs, and women’s parliamentary representation were the most powerful predictors of cross-national variability in gender gaps in math. Results are situated within the context of existing research demonstrating apparently paradoxical effects of societal gender equity and highlight the significance of increasing girls’ and women’s agency cross-nationally.
  15. Mary E. Flahive and Marie A. Vitulli, An Update: Are Women Getting All the Jobs? , Notices of the American Mathematical Society 57(2010), 984-986.
    This update to the 1997 Notices article listed below, looks at gender differences in first jobs for new Ph.D.s between 1996 and 2008 and finds that there are noticeable differences in types of first jobs and differences in “comparable” job rates. You can download a pdf of the article here.
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  17. Marie A. Vitulli and Mary E. Flahive, Are Women Getting All the Jobs?, Notices of the American Mathematical Society 44(1997), 338-339.
    Results of an analysis for gender differences in employment for new Ph.D.s in mathematics. You can download a pdf of the article here.
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  19. Gender Balance in ASA Activities Update  February 1, 2016
    The American Statistical Association (ASA) releases the “Gender Balance in ASA Activities Update.” Their findings suggest the representation of women across ASA activities has generally improved between 2012 and now, the share of women serving on the editorial boards of scientific journals should be higher (an area that was not previously explored). They also observed that ASA sections in which women are a larger share of the section membership are not well represented in the ASA awards structure.
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  21. A Study on the Status of Women Faculty in Science at MIT, March 1999
    Report on various aspects of gender bias among women science faculty members at MIT. The report was the work of the Committee on Women Faculty in the School of Science, which was established by the Dean of Science in 1995.
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  23. Update to A Study on the Status of Women Faculty in Science at MIT, 2002
    Report on various aspects of gender bias among women science faculty members at MIT. The report was the work of the Committee on Women Faculty in the School of Science, which was established by the Dean of Science in 1995.
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  25. MIT Acknowledges Bias Against Female Faculty Members, Chronicle of Higher Ed, April 2, 1999.
    Chronicle article on the MIT study on gender bias against women faculty.
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  27. Report Questions Methodology and Conclusions of MIT Gender-Discrimination Study February 7, 2001
    The report, prepared by the Independent Women's Forum, criticizes M.I.T.’s 1999 study of female faculty members in the sciences a study that has since fueled a national discussion about the issue. Just last week, prompted in part by the M.I.T. study, leaders of nine top research universities signed a pledge to work toward better treatment of female professors in science and engineering.
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  29. Ana Marie Cox, 9 Research Universities Pledge to Treat Female Scientists Better, Chronicle of Higher Ed, January 31, 2001
    This is a follow up to the 1999 Study on the Status of Women Faculty in Science at MIT reported by the Chronicle of Higher Ed. Leaders of nine top research universities signed a pledge to work toward better treatment of female faculty members in science and engineering and to consider "potentially significant" changes in university policies to promote equity. The universities are: California Institute of Technology, Harvard University, M.I.T., Princeton University, Stanford University, the University of California at Berkeley, the University of Michigan at Ann Arbor, the University of Pennsylvania, and Yale University.
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  31. Carrie Lucas, Studying Women and Science: Why Women’s Lower Rate of Participation in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics Courses Isn’t a Problem for the Government to Solve, May 2008
    Position paper no. 608 authored by Carrie Lucas and published by the Independent Women’s Forum in response in 1999 study by MIT faculty on gender bias.
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  33. Reports from Other Universities on Status of Women & Family Life
    The Yale University Women Faculty Forum maintains this list of reports from various universities of the status of women faculty; links to the reports are provided.
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  35. Women, Minorities, and Persons with Disabilities in Science and Engineering
    Women, Minorities, and Persons with Disabilities in Science and Engineering provides statistical information about the participation of women, minorities, and persons with disabilities in science and engineering education and employment. A formal report, now in the form of a digest, is issued every 2 years by the National Science Foundation. You can view the accompanying chart on degrees in the physical sciences and mathematics going to women between 1989 and 2008 here.
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  37. Donna J. Nelson and Christopher N. Brammer, A National Analysis of Minorities in Science and Engineering Faculties at Research Universities
    This is a 2010 updated version of a 2007 study of faculty diversity in the top 50 Departments in Mathematics, Computer Science, Chemistry, Physics, and Electrical, Civil, and Mechanical Engineering. A wealth of data is summarized in the study.
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  39. Judy Touchton, with Caryn McTighe Musil and Kathryn Peltier Campbell, A Measure of Equity: Women's Progress in Higher Education.
    This is a 2008 publication by the Program on the Status and Education of Women (PSEW), which is part of the Association of American Colleges and Universities (AACU). The ACCU has a page on STEM higher education.
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  41. Gender Differences at Critical Transitions in the Careers of Science, Engineering, and Mathematics Faculty
    This 2010 report by the National Academies presents new and surprising findings about career differences between female and male full-time, tenure-track, and tenured faculty in science, engineering, and mathematics at the nation’s top research universities. Much of this congressionally mandated book is based on two unique surveys of faculty and departments at major U.S. research universities in six fields: biology, chemistry, civil engineering, electrical engineering, mathematics, and physics. The link takes you to a site where you can buy the complete study or download a free PDF summary.
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  43. Dual Career Academics
    Researchers at the Michelle R. Clayman Institute for Gender Research at Stanford University have done an extensive study of dual-career academic couples. Researchers in the Clayman study surveyed over 9000 full-time faculty members at 13 leading U.S. research universities. Over 36% of those surveyed have academic partners and dual-career hires increased from 3% in 1970 to 13% in the 2000s. The study as well as many other resources can be found on this website.
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  45. The NETWISE research group
    The NETWISE research group is a multi-institutional research group that conducts research on questions related to how social and professional networks matter in the careers of academic scientists, with special attention to women and underrepresented minorities. The research is funded through two major NSF grants.
    • NETWISE I: Women in Science and Engineering: Network Acces, Participation, and Career Outcomes
    • NETWISE II: Empirical Research: Breaking throught the Repuutational Ceiling: Professional Networsk as a Determinant of Advancement, Mobility, and Career Outcomes for Women and Minorities in STEM.
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