Published online by Cambridge University Press: 16 May 2002
For over a decade, the Southern Political Science Association has been committed to assessing the status of women faculty members by regularly administering surveys to political science programs within the South. These surveys, sponsored by the SPSA and administered by the Committee on the Status of Women, have resulted in numerous recommendations for creating diversity within departments and gender equity within programs. In this article we examine the results of the Millennium Survey, the latest effort to evaluate the progress of female political scientists within the South. Our findings suggest that in the last 10 years women faculty have made great progress, especially in Ph.D. granting institutions where the number of women in tenured positions at the rank of associate and full professor has doubled since the last survey. This is an important shift from a trend noted in an earlier CSW survey and in a national report in the September–October 1998 issue of Academe where the author remarked that “Women, unlike men, traded off rank for institutional prestige. For women, the more prestigious their institution, the lower their rank; for men there was no such relationship” (Valian 1998). Contrary to the national trend dynamic, women in the South are making the most progress at the most prestigious institutions. Perhaps there are a greater number of faculty positions within doctoral departments and that in the last 10 years these programs have had more opportunities to hire and promote women. Our survey suggests that there have been fewer tenure-track positions available for women within departments at smaller, bachelor's degree-granting institutions. While the number of female associate professors has increased within baccalaureate-granting programs, the number of female full professors has actually declined. However, the overall number of women faculty members at all ranks has increased in the majority of political science programs within the South.
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