LAWRENCE, Kan. — A recent report says women faculty members are still in the minority at the University of Kansas, where they’re also twice as likely to resign from their posts as male colleagues.

Donna Ginther, an economics professor at the university, headed the committee tasked with investigating and identifying potential gender inequities among students, staff and faculty. The committee’s report found that just 35 percent of the university’s tenured or tenure-track faculty members are women, the Lawrence Journal-World reported .

Ginther said the percentage is still a jump from about a decade ago, when women comprised about 25 percent of tenured faculty at the university.

“Relative to our peers, I think in terms of representation, we’re a bit better,” she said.

The report also says women faculty members at the university are more than twice as likely to leave their job as male colleagues. Ginther said retention remains a key goal.

“I think that we really need to pay attention to our junior faculty and mentor them and facilitate their success. That’s critically important,” she said. “I think we really need to pay attention to retaining the faculty we have, because that means we don’t lose our investment in the faculty when they leave.”

Ginther said the findings back up her older research that found mathematics-heavy fields are still overrepresented by men and that women are still overrepresented in social science fields. She said this representation mirrored what she found with student gender demographics across fields of study.

She said the mechanisms behind these career paths form years before students attend college.

“A lot of my research shows that, in terms of math-intensive majors like economics and engineering and computer sciences, that divergence in interests happen in middle school,” she said. “And women are more likely to go into what we call LPS — life sciences, psychology and social sciences, excluding economics.”

Ginther said there isn’t much of a gender pay gap when examining faculty by division and rank. Overall, she found a difference of 5 percent or less in most salary comparisons between genders in the university’s schools, with the exception of the business and law schools.


Information from: Lawrence (Kan.) Journal-World, http://www.ljworld.com