International Perspectives on Increasing Workforce Participation, Advancement and Leadership
Edited by Diana Bilimoria and Linley Lord
Chapter 8: Effective practices to increase women’s participation, advancement and leadership in US academic STEM
Recent reports have highlighted the importance of the full participation of women in the science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) workforce for the continued global leadership position of the United States in science and technology in the coming years and decades (National Academies, 2007a, 2007b; U.S. Department of Labor, 2007). Yet, even as women are increasingly holders of doctoral degrees in STEM fields, the proportion of women faculty in STEM in the nation’s colleges and universities has remained slow to increase, particularly with low representation at the highest levels of the academic hierarchy. The leaky pipeline metaphor has been used to describe institutional level (cultural and structural) impediments to women’s participation and advancement in academic STEM careers, describing the problems, barriers and resource inequities faced by women at each key transition point in the academic career pipeline (Bilimoria and Liang, 2012). The goal of this chapter is to describe effective initiatives to address gender equity issues and the leaky pipeline in academic STEM fields undertaken by the National Science Foundation’s (NSF’s) ADVANCE program in US colleges and universities. For the purposes of our descriptions and evaluations, we draw on the findings of an earlier study conducted by us (Bilimoria and Liang, 2012). In the rest of this chapter, we first describe extant problems in the representation and experience of women faculty in academic STEM fields. Then, we address the NSF ADVANCE program and its emphasis on institutional transformation.
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