The Persistence of Male Power and Prestige in the Professions:
Report on the Professions of Law, Medicine, and Science & Engineering
Gender inequality maintains a tenacious grip on the American workplace. Post-recession, men continue to be more likely than women to retain the lion’s share of power. This holds true even within the professions requiring the most education, where some might imagine the potential for parity would be greatest. This social scientific report and set of three case studies from the Center for Research on Gender in the Professions show that, among those at the pinnacle of power, women still lag behind men.
See Our Report:
Individual Case Studies:
Media Coverage of the Report
The Report has received attention from numerous news sources, such as the Huffington Post, WBUR Radio Boston, and KPBS. The press release is available from the UCSD News Center. Find a complete listing of the coverage here.
The Decline of Men? Not So Fast! Links
Recent media reports sensationalize the gains women have made in the labor force, while exaggerating the difficulties men are facing. We have listed the writings by the loudest voices here.
Welcome to CRGP!
Our mission is to increase the understanding of gender inequality and gender equity in the professions, in business, and in other demanding careers. We foster rigorous social scientific research that advances basic knowledge and supports the efforts of employers and policy makers to create more equitable and productive workplaces. We promote interdisciplinary conversations to integrate what is currently known about gender, work, and family and to assess future directions for exploration. We take into account that men's and women's professional opportunities are shaped by race, ethnicity, nationality and sexual identity as well as gender. We promote in-depth studies of particular professions as well as broader comparative research across different professions and societies. We also support the work of young scholars in order to contribute to the continuing vitality of gender research. For example, CRGP Graduate Student Affiliates in Sociology, History, and Art History have received funding from the UCSD Dean of Graduate Studies for their Chancellor's Interdisciplinary Collaboratories project "Gender Inequality: Ideologies and Consequences."
An important research site for understanding how gender shapes careers is science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) fields. CRGP affiliates Mary Blair-Loy, Jeanne Ferrante, and Erin Cech have received funding from a National Science Foundation Advance PAID-Research grant to conduct a longitudinal study about how disadvantages for women, minorities, and lesbian, gay, and bisexual faculty in STEM fields accrue over time. They analyze how individual, departmental, and disciplinary factors translate into inequalities in salaries, advancement, productivity, and sense of conflict between work and family. Their project examines how individual biases, departmental networks and climate, and disciplinary culture and demography shape careers over time. The research question is how gender and racial inequality is created, reproduced, and redressed in a top-ranked, meritocratic university, in which individuals care about ensuring fairness and transparency. The researchers have already conducted a survey of academic scientists, as well as 65 in-depth interviews with faculty members. (This grant is entitled Divergent trajectories: A longitudinal study of organizational and departmental factors leading to gender and race differences in STEM faculty advancement, pay, and persistence).
Scholars and students at UCSD and beyond, employers and community members are invited to participate in Center events. Contact us to request to be added to our mailing list for news and announcements or to join as an affiliate. Learn more about our exciting programs (PDF) and how you can support our work (PDF).
Mary Blair-Loy, Founding Director
News and Events
Project PAINT: The Prison Arts INiTiative
CRGP Graduate Fellow Laura Pecenco's dissertation, entitled "Paint in the Can: Creating Art and Gender in Prison," is a multi-method analysis of the diverse ways in which gender is performed by men in prison art programs. As part of her dissertation research, Pecenco founded Project PAINT: The Prison Arts INiTiative, a visual arts program at the Richard J. Donovan Correctional Facility. Her program has recently been featured as the cover story of San Diego CityBeat and on both Midday Edition and Evening Edition of KPBS. Project PAINT has also now received funding from a partnership of the California Arts Council and the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation to expand programming.
Workplace Flexibility Stigma
A new study by CRGP Senior Academic Affiliate Erin Cech and Founding Director Mary Blair-Loy has found that flexibility stigma among science faculty is a problem for even childless workers. The article, "Consequences of Flexibility Stigma for Academic Scientists and Engineers," reports that professionals who acknowledge the existence of a flexibility stigma in their workplaces are more likely to consider leaving their places of employment, are less satisfied with their jobs, and feel that they have a more difficult time achieving work-life balance than those who do not indicate the presence of such a stigma. Find more information on this research in Inside Higher Ed and Work in Progress, the blog of the American Sociological Association's Organizations, Occupations, and Work Section.
Understanding Change in Science and Engineering
The Center for Comparative Immigration Studies at UCSD recently released a report, entitled Building the Innovation Economy? The Challenges of Defining, Creating and Maintaining the STEM Workforce, which explores why many workers are leaving this field and how they keep their skill sets current despite regular change. A downloadable copy of the report is available here.
ASA OOW Blog: Work in Progress
Work in Progress, the blog of the Organizations, Occupations, and Work section of the American Sociological Association, provides a sociological perspective on matters related to work as a complement to more mainstream accounts of the subject. The blog is written for the general public, showcasing recent sociological research in the field. Work in Progress recently featured a post with sociologists Julie Kmec, Lindsey Trimble O'Connor, and Scott Schieman, a CRGP Senior Academic Affiliate, regarding the penalties many working mothers believe they face when they adjust their work schedules after having children. Unlike the men in the sample who made similar schedule changes, these mothers report that they feel ignored and are asked to perform the least desirable tasks at their workplaces, whether they reduce or increase their work hours; the authors attribute such reactions by employers and co-workers to perceived violations of norms of "ideal workers" and of cultural expectations of mothers.
Ethics and Engineering Education
The "culture of disengagement" among engineering students has the been the subject of recent work by CRGP Senior Academic Affiliate Erin Cech. She conducted a survey of over 300 engineering students in 4 different university settings. Eighteen months post-graduation, students reported less concern about public welfare and social justice issues than they did as first-year students. Cech suggests that ethics considerations should be more fully integrated into STEM education to prevent such disengagement. Her results appear in both "Culture of Disengagement in Engineering Education?," in Science, Technology, & Human Values, and "Education: Embed social awareness in science curricula," in Nature.