There still aren't very many women in the history profession





[Note: This post is a shortened version of the presentation Robert Townsend gave at the 2008 Berkshire Conference on the History of Women. See also last Wednesday’s post by David Darlington on coverage of the conference: Reports from the 2008 Berkshire Conference on the History of Women.]

It is difficult to find a fair benchmark for assessing the progress of women in the history discipline. As you probably know, history is much less diverse than the larger American population, so setting the benchmark at 51 percent seems unfair. So for comparisons sake, let me use a benchmark that seems more comparable—the representation of women at the last Republican National Convention.

According to CBS, 43 percent of the delegates to the Republican convention were women. Unfortunately, history fails even by that modest test. The latest federal snapshot shows that just barely 30 percent of the history faculty in American colleges and universities are women. At the AHA we do slightly better, but only by just a bit. Currently 37 percent of our members are women. The only place where the discipline comes close to the Republicans is in the representation among new PhD’s—where women account for 42 percent.

The static picture depicted here seems troubling enough, but I think when viewed over time, the long-term trends appear even worse than this suggests. On each of these benchmarks it appears we have hit the glass ceiling and even modest progress has stopped....



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Lisa Kazmier - 6/25/2008

Given the fact that men still seem to have advantages getting hired, these stats hardly surprise me. Add some mommy track issues and women end up on the outside more often than men. Heck, I was told as a grad student that some guy was ahead of me on funding because he was "older" which was a lie chronologically. It was PC codespeak for the fact he was married and had a child. More breadwinner wage crap. There still is a problem. I won't tell someone else's story but I am convinced being a female is NOT an advantage in being hired.

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