Women scientists in academia: Geographically constrained to big cities, college clusters, or the coasts?

Stephen Kulis, Diane Sicotte

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

49 Scopus citations


Women scientists in academia have been shown to be less geographically mobile than their male counterparts, a factor that may exacerbate gender inequities in faculty representation, tenure, and salary. This study examines the extent to which the jobs of academic women scientists are disproportionately concentrated in large cities, areas with many colleges and universities, and regions where most doctorates are granted. We also investigate whether jobs in these locations affect salary, tenure, full-time faculty status, and employment outside one's field of training in ways that differ for women and men. Our analysis is guided by arguments that geographic constraints on women's mobility are rooted in social factors, such as gender roles and mate selection patterns. Data are drawn from over 13,000 faculty respondents in the national Survey of Doctoral Recipients, representing 22 science and engineering disciplines and over 1,000 4-year colleges or universities. Regression analysis reveals that, irrespective of their family status, women faculty are more likely than their male counterparts to reside in doctoral production centers, areas with large clusters of colleges, and large cities. Responsibility for children intensifies women's geographic concentration more than marriage does and in ways that differ from men. Geographic concentration also appears generally more harmful to women's careers than to men's. Women in doctoral production centers are less likely to have tenure and more likely to work part time; those in larger cities are more likely to be in jobs off the tenure track. Locales with many colleges appear to present somewhat better career prospects for women.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1-30
Number of pages30
JournalResearch in Higher Education
Issue number1
StatePublished - 2002


  • Gender equity
  • Geographic constraints
  • Occupational mobility
  • Women faculty
  • Women scientists

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Education


Dive into the research topics of 'Women scientists in academia: Geographically constrained to big cities, college clusters, or the coasts?'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this