Justin Wolfers Writes About Gender-Neutral Policies That Are Strengthening Gender Bias Among Scholars
Gender-neutral policies may have been established to create equality in the workplace, however, the opposite has occurred in academia. Justin Wolfers, U-M Professor of Economics, delves into what is actually happening in universities across the country in, “A Family-Friendly Policy That’s Friendliest to Male Professors.”
In the 1990s and early 2000s, many universities adopted tenure-extension policies, extending the seven-year period of tenure evaluation. According to research by Heather Antecol (Claremont McKenna College), Kelly Bedard (University of California, Santa Barbara) and Jenna Stearns (University of California, Santa Barbara), “after the implementation of a gender-neutral clock stopping policy, the probability that a female assistant professor gets tenure at that university decreases by 22 percentage points while male tenure rates rise by 19 percentage points.”
In the extra time allotted for new parents, they found that male economists used that time to publish their research whereas female economists did not increase their professional output. “Perhaps this reflects the physical toll of pregnancy, the difficulties of a complicated birth, the extra task of nursing or simply an unwillingness to shirk parenting duties,” explains Wolfers.
“Better policies could help economics – not to mention the sciences and other fields – look like less of a boys’ club… Three female economists have shown that the tools of economics…suggest that a more nuanced policy would lead to better outcomes. It leaves me wondering how many other policy mistakes we could avoid, if only we had more female economists,” wrote Wolfers.
Read “A Family-Friendly Policy That’s Friendliest to Male Professors,” from The New York Times.
Read “Equal but Inequitable: Who Benefits from Gender-Neutral Tenure Clock Stopping Policies?” by Heather Antecol (Claremont McKenna College), Kelly Bedard (University of California, Santa Barbara) and Jenna Stearns (University of California, Santa Barbara).