Dispelling the pipeline myth: gender, family formation, and alternative trajectories in the academic life course
Academic careers have traditionally been conceptualized as pipelines, through which young scholars move continuously from graduate school to tenure-track positions. This understanding often fails to capture the experiences of female Ph.D. recipients, who take ladder-rank assistant professorships at lower rates than do their male counterparts. Where do these women go instead? Data from the 1981-1995 Survey of Doctorate Recipients are analyzed to chart the normative life courses of Ph.D. recipients. Female doctorate recipients are disproportionately likely to take adjunct professorships or exit the labor force, especially if they have young children. Contrary to conventional wisdom, academic positions off the tenure-track provide the best opportunity for getting a tenure-track job down the road. Collectively these findings show that the normative academic life course is both complex and permeable, and therefore not well suited to conceptualization as a rigid pipeline.
Wolfinger, Nicholas H.,Mason, Mary Ann; Goulden, Marc (2006). Dispelling the Pipeline Myth: Gender, Family Formation, and Alternative Trajectories in the Academic Life Course. Institute of Public and International Affairs (IPIA), 7, 1-23.
Institute of Public and International Affairs Working Papers
(c) Nicholas H. Wolfinger, Mary Ann Mason, Marc Goulden