June 29, 2005
The Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine was founded based on the ideal that women be included in all aspects of the school on an equal footing with men. In recent years, the School has made significant strides in increasing the representation of women in all faculty ranks and in leadership positions. Yet despite the substantial number of women who have joined the School of Medicine faculty, they have remained clustered at the junior ranks.
In 2002, the Women's Leadership Council reported to the Dean and the Advisory Board of the Medical Faculty that, despite the significant proportion of women at the lower faculty ranks for more than a decade, the percentage of women full professors had increased from only 6% to 11% in the previous ten years, and there was only a single female department director. Acting upon these statistics, as well as on a call by the University Provost to establish working groups to improve the status of women at Johns Hopkins, the Dean appointed the Committee for Faculty Development and Gender to investigate the status of women in the School of Medicine .
The Committee used a data-driven approach to identify potential barriers to the career progression of women faculty in the School of Medicine . Information in four areas were collected and analyzed:
• Faculty representation and rates of attrition and promotion
• A survey of all faculty to identify sources of differences in career progression of male versus female faculty
• Interviews of department directors to learn their views of factors affecting faculty career success and satisfaction
• An analysis of salary equity
Major findings and implications
Faculty representation and attrition
- Women are less likely than men to be promoted to a higher rank.
- Women take longer to be promoted than men.
- The attrition of women faculty is higher than that of men.
- The proportion of women at the ranks of Assistant and Associate Professor has remained roughly constant over the past six years.
- Women now constitute 15% of full professors, up from 7.5% in 1994.
- There are currently 3 (out of 30) female department directors
- A large majority of women (80%) report that men and women are not treated equally in their department
- Women were substantially less likely than men to report that they have a voice in departmental decision-making
- Many women report feeling excluded from informal decision-making networks
- Many women report that their career progression has been slowed by family responsibilities.
- 20% of female faculty report having experienced sexual harassment at Hopkins
Department director survey
- Directors felt that the competing demands of work and personal life, while an issue for all faculty, particularly affected the recruitment, retention and advancement of women.
- The competing needs of a spouse's career and difficulties in finding satisfactory positions for a spouse adversely affect recruitment and retention of women faculty.
- Women are underrepresented in important decision–making groups and committees.
- While 80% of directors report holding formal annual reviews with faculty, 58% of the faculty survey respondents report having these reviews.
- Directors believe that subtle expressions of gender-based obstacles may occur within the School but are not very prevalent in their departments.
- Total salary for female faculty is on average 6.3% lower than that of men.
- The greater amount of time it takes for women to be promoted further reduces the cumulative compensation and retirement savings of women faculty as compared to men.
The School of Medicine has made significant strides over the past few years in increasing the proportion of senior faculty and department chairs who are women. Despite this progress, a disproportionate number of our junior faculty fail to progress in their careers, or take longer than men to do so. In addition, women faculty at all ranks are much more likely than their male colleagues to encounter obstacles to their career success and to their full and equal inclusion in the Hopkins community. Our data-gathering efforts have uncovered a number of areas in which women are disadvantaged, either by actual obstacles in institutional policy and practice, by the work environment as they perceive it, or by family responsibilities. The committee has proposed a number of recommendations that should be implemented by the School of Medicine in order to remedy these problems, thereby mitigating the attrition of our valuable female faculty, fostering their careers and enabling the School to live up to the ideals under which it was founded.