Iowa State University employs nearly 2,000 faculty members who are involved in teaching, research, Extension, and administrative duties. This population faces the largest gender disparity, with women representing less than 40% of faculty appointments.
- Women remain fewer than half of all faculty at ISU
- STEM fields are male-dominated; humanities and the social sciences are female-dominated
Women remain fewer than half of all faculty at ISU
In 2018, ISU employed 1,166 male faculty (60.3%) compared to 767 female faculty members (39.7%). This proportion improved slightly since 2010 when ISU employed 1,113 male faculty and 620 female faculty (64.2% and 35.8%, respectively). While the overall number of faculty declined, the proportion of female faculty increased by about 4%.
Gender bias among faculty at ISU does not compare favorably with the national situation for female faculty members. According to the American Association of University Professors (AAUP, 2021), women account for nearly 47& of full-time faculty nationally, though only 42.5% are full professors. This gender bias is more pronounced among term or non-tenure track faculty, where women make up the majority in institutions of higher education (53.9%).
STEM fields are male-dominated; humanities and the social sciences are female-dominated
With the exception of the College of Human Sciences and the College of Design, areas where women tend to be disproportionately represented in higher education, five colleges consistently have less than 40% of their faculty positions filled by women. Female faculty in the College of Engineering represented only 21.6% of the faculty as a whole in 2018. This lack of female faculty is consistent with gender bias in the STEM fields across the nation, particularly in engineering, with one of the lowest rates of women in jobs and education.
Between 2010 and 2018, the proportion of female faculty within these Colleges has stayed the same. The College of Veterinary Medicine employs 3% less women than they did in 2010. The Colleges of Design, Liberal Arts & Sciences, and Engineering employ roughly the same percent of women in 2018; the Colleges of Human Sciences, Agriculture and Life Sciences, and Business are exceptions, employing anywhere from 6-8% more women in 2018.
Several immediate and long-term measures and policies are needed to address the gender imbalances in higher education. These measures will address glaring inequalities among faculty that have long term impacts in terms of compensation, advancement, and overall quality of work. These disparities are also exacerbated when social identities such as race, ethnicity, and sexual orientation are considered.
Recruit and retain women, people of color, and other underrepresented groups
Develop strong recruitment and retention efforts centered on women, people of color, and other underrepresented groups at ISU. Build on the agenda of ISU programs such as ISU ADVANCE, the ADVANCE Midwest Partnership, and Aspire (The National Alliance for Inclusive and Diverse STEM Faculty). Focus on inclusive climate at the departmental and college levels.
Support female faculty through family-friendly policies
Provide affordable and quality child-care for faculty, students and other employees at ISU. Develop policies that support paid parental leave for all employees to care for infants, elderly parents and other family obligations.
Develop compensation policies and practices to overcome pay inequities
Conduct a comprehensive salary study for faculty that examines gender, racial, and other forms of pay inequities and discrimination. Provide financial resources to address pay disparities.
Focus on inclusive climate at the departmental and college levels
Conduct bias training and assessment of departments and academic units to ensure all faculty feel welcome and supported. Maintain a confidential and independent service for faculty to resolve matters pertaining to climate and personnel issues.
Written by Ann Oberhauser
Edited by Melissa Miller
Data Curation by Karen Kedrowski and Natalie Clark
Data Analysis and Visualization by Natalie Clark
The most recent data in this report are from 2018. We have limited access to 2019 or 2020 data, however, these statistics will be updated as more recent data are available. We also intend to expand our analysis to national data in fields such as engineering, education, business, veterinary medicine.