- Career Center
|NPA ADVANCE Data on Postdocs and Gender|
The postdoctoral position - a temporary period of training and mentored research following the receipt of a doctoral degree - is a critical transition point in the academic career pipeline where the numbers of women scientists and engineers significantly decline. While the relative fraction of women in academic science and engineering decreases at every successive step along the career pipeline (see Figure 1 below), these decreases primarily occur before the tenure track and are greatest for the fields where the postdoctoral position is most common . Increasingly, the postdoctoral position has become a required step for continuing into the professoriate in these fields, creating an additional career hurdle and lengthening the total elapsed time until the first permanent position. Moreover, the likelihood that a postdoctoral scholar (postdoc) obtains a tenure-track position also has decreased .
NPA ADVANCE Fact Sheet: Postdoctoral Scholars, Gender, and the Academic Career Pipeline
NPA ADVANCE Focus Group Findings
Amber Budden: Postdocs & Gender: What Do We Know? Data from the Sigma Xi Postdoctoral Survey
Donna Ginther: The Postdoc and Women's Academic Careers - More Questions than Answers
Mary Ann Mason: Staying Competitive: Patching the Leaky Pipeline in the Sciences
Jeri Metzger Mulrow: NSF Data on Postdocs: What Do We Know? What Else Should We Know?
Diana Stavreva: Falling off the Academic Bandwagon: Why women are more likely to quit at the postdoc to principal investigator transition
Sigma Xi Postdoc Survey Results: Doctors Without Orders (2005)
Postdocs: What We Know and What We Would Like to Learn (2002)
National Academies reports:
NPA Institutional Policy Database Now Available!
Sigma Xi National Postdoc Survey http://postdoc.sigmaxi.org/results/data
National Science Foundation Data:
Ginther, D.K. and Kahn, K. 2009. "Does Science Promote Women, Evidence from Academia 1973 1973-2001 2001" Science and Engineering Careers in the United States. Richard B. Freeman and Daniel F. Goroff (eds), Chicago, IL: University of Chicago Press for NBER Science Engineering Workforce Project.
Goulden, M., Frasch, K., and Mason, M.A. and the Center for American Progress. 2009. Staying Competitive: Patching America's Leaky Pipeline in the Sciences. Berkeley Center on Health, Economic & Family Security. http://www.americanprogress.org/issues/2009/11/women_and_sciences.html (accessed March 2010)
Ley, T.J. & Hamilton, B.H. 2008 Science, 322, 1472
Martinez E.D., Botos J., Dohoney K.M., Geiman T.M., Kolla S.S., Olivera A., Qiu Y., Rayasam G.V., Stavreva D.A. & Cohen-Fix O. 2007. EMBO reports 8 (11), 977
Mason, M.A. & Goulden, M. 2002. Academe, 88(6): 21
National Research Council Committee on Science, Engineering, and Public Policy. 2007. Beyond Bias and Barriers: Fulfilling the Potential of Women in Academic Science and Engineering. Washington, D.C.: The National Academies Press. http://www.nap.edu/catalog.php?record_id=11741 (accessed March 2, 2011)
National Research Council Committee on Women in Science, Engineering, and Medicine. 2001. From Scarcity to Visibility: Gender Differences in the Careers of Doctoral Scientists and Engineers. Washington, D.C.: The National Academies Press. http://www.nap.edu/catalog.php?record_id=5363 (accessed March 2, 2011)
National Science Board. 2008. Science and Engineering Indicators 2008. Two volumes. (volume 1, NSB 08-01; volume 2, NSB 08-01A) http://www.nsf.gov/statistics/seind08/ (accessed March 2, 2011)
National Science Foundation, Division of Science Resources Statistics, Women, Minorities, and Persons with Disabilities in Science and Engineering: 2009, NSF 09-305 (Arlington, VA; January 2009). Available from http://www.nsf.gov/statistics/wmpd/.Postdoc data source: NSF Survey of Graduate Students and Postdoctorates in Science and Engineering 2006. (NSF 2009)
Nelson, D.J. 2007. A National Analysis of Minorities in Science and Engineering Faculties at Research Universities. http://faculty-staff.ou.edu/N/Donna.J.Nelson-1/diversity/Faculty_Tables_FY07/07Report.pdf (accessed February 11, 2009)
Sigma Xi Postdoc Survey results by gender: http://www.sigmaxi.org/postdoc/by_gender/about_you_short.html (accessed June 2009)
 For a discussion of this issue, see for example, Goulden, Frash & Mason 2009; Ginther & Kahn 2009; Ley et al. 2008; NRC 2007 Beyond Bias and Barriers: Fulfilling the Potential of Women in Academic Science and Engineering; Martinez et al. 2007; Nelson 2007; NRC 2001 From Scarcity to Visibility: Gender Differences in the Careers of Doctoral Scientists and Engineers.
This material is based upon work supported by the National Science Foundation under Grant No. 0819994. Any opinions, findings, and conclusions or recommendations expressed in this material are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views of the National Science Foundation.