References on Chilly Climate for Women Faculty in Academe

Jennifer Freyd, Psychology, University of Oregon
JQ Johnson, Library, University of Oregon


  1. General Chilly Climate References
  2. Bias in Student Evaluations
  3. Bias in Hiring and Evaluation
  4. Balancing academic and personal responsibilities
  5. Other Data on Bias
  6. Related Online Resources


Sandler and Hall (1986) write:

In one study, first done in 1968 and then replicated in 1983, college students were asked to rate identical articles to specific criteria. The authors' names attached to the articles were clearly male or female, but were reversed for each group of raters: what one group thought had been written by a male, the second group thought had been written by a female, and vice versa. Articles supposedly written by women were consistently ranked lower than when the very same articles were thought to have been written by a male. In a similar study, department chairs were asked to make hypothetical hiring decisions and to assign faculty rank on the basis of vitae. For vitae with male names, chairs recommended the rank of associate professor; however, the identical vita with a female name merited only the rank of assistant professor. These and many other studies show that in academe as in other settings the same professional accomplishments are seen as superior in quality and worthy of higher rewards when attributed to men than when they are attributed to women.

Bias and discrimination are still with us, as shown in a wide variety of studies of women in academe. A quotation from Academe Today (22 May 1997):

A glance at today's issue of "Nature": Swedish study finds sexism in peer review
Why do few women hold high academic positions in biomedicine? Among the many theories is the view that women are less productive than men. But Christine Wenneras and Agnes Wold, two researchers at Sweden's Goteborg University, found that the peer-review system was to blame. The researchers examined the peer-review system of the Swedish Medical Research Council and compared the productivity of male and female scientists with the scores they had received in applications for postdoctoral fellowships. The reviewers, they found, had consistently given female applicants lower scores than equally productive men. In some cases, they found that female applicants would have had to publish three extra papers in "Nature" or "Science," or 20 extra papers in less-prestigious journals, to be ranked the same as male applicants. "If gender discrimination of the magnitude we have observed is operative in the peer-review systems of other research councils and grant-awarding organizations, and in countries other than Sweden," they write, that could account for the discrepancy.

Gender bias and discrimination against women in academia take many forms, from overt sexual harassment to the much more ubiquitous and insidious problem of subtle and unconscious sexism impacting daily life, work distribution, student evaluations, and promotion and hiring decisions. This confluence of problems has been called the problem of the "chilly climate."

One error people make is assuming that gender bias and discrimination require a conscious sexist ideology or a conscious attempt to discriminate against women. In fact, however, psychological science has overwhelmingly demonstrated that sexist behaviors, gender bias, and discrimination can and do occur without these conscious beliefs or attempts to discriminate.

A second error people often make is believing that discrimination is "out there" but not "here" -- that is, that gender bias is in other environments than one's very own department or university. It is very hard to discern gender bias in individual cases, while in aggregate analyses that it is operating may be an unavoidable conclusion.

A third error is the belief that bias, though present, is negligible in effect. The problem with this is that a large number of nearly negligible effects all working in the same direction can easily cumulate to very significant aggregate discrimination.

It is thus important to ask whether the bias occurs, despite one's own beliefs that it is not occurring or that no one intends for it to be occurring. Although many systematic studies have demonstrated the empirical reality of the phenomena underlying the chilly climate, much of this research remains outside of mainstream awareness. For instance, although many studies have documented biases in student evaluations, only rarely do promotion committees explicitly take this fact into consideration.

This page contains our selected references primarily to published empirical studies about chilly climate or related phenomena for women faculty. Our hope is that this resource will be useful and educative to students, faculty, and administrators.

General Chilly Climate References

Acker, Sandra & Feuerverger, Grace (1996) Doing good and feeling bad: the work of women university teachers, Cambridge Journal of Education, 26(3): 401-422.

Bagilhole, B. (1993) How to keep a good woman down: an investigation of the role of institutional factors in the process of discrimination against women academics, British Journal of Sociology of Education, 14: 261-74.

Blakemore, J. E. O., Switzer, J. Y, DiIorio, J. A., & Fairchild, D. L. (1997) "Exploring the Campus Climate for Women Faculty." in Niki Benokraitis (Ed) Subtle Sexism. Sage, 1997.

Bluestone, H. H., Stokes, A., and Kuba, S. Toward an integrated program design: Evaluating the status of diversity training in a graduate school curriculum. Professional Psychology: Research and Practice, 27(4). 394-400.

Caplan, P.J. (1994) Lifting a Ton of Feathers: A Woman's Guide to Surviving the Academic World. University of Toronto Press.

Chilly Collective (Eds.) (1995) Breaking Anonymity: the chilly climate for women faculty. Waterloo, Ontario: Wilfred Laurier University Press.

Collins, Lynn H. (1998). Competition and contact: The dynamics behind resistance to affirmative action in academe. In Collins, Lynn H., Chrisler, Joan C., et al. (Eds.), Career strategies for women in academe: Arming Athena (pp. 45-79). Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage Publications, Inc.

Davis, Diane E., & Astin, Helen S. (1990). Life cycle, career patterns and gender stratification in academe: Breaking myths and exposing truths. In Suzanne Stiver Lie & Virginia O'Leary (Eds.), Storming the tower: Women in the academic world (pp. 89-107). London: Kogan Page.

Feldthusen, Bruce. (1991). The gender wars: "Where the boys are". In The Chilly Climate Collective (Eds.), Breaking anonymity: The chilly climate for women faculty (pp. 279-313). Waterloo, ON: Wilfrid Laurier University Press.

Hall, R. M. & Sandler, B. R. (1982) The classroom climate: A chilly one for women? Included in the "Student Climate Issues Packet," available from the Project on the Status and Education of Women, Association of American Colleges, 1818 R St. NW, Washington, D.C. 20009.

Hopkins, Nancy (11 June 1999). MIT and Gender Bias: Following Up on Victory. Chronicle of Higher Education 45(40). On line at (15 October 2001).

Holloway, Marguerite (1993) A lab of her own. Scientific American, 269 (5) [November 1993], 94-102.

Janz, Teresa A. & Pyke, Sandra W. (2000). A Scale to assess student perceptions of academic climates. Canadian Journal of Higher Education, 30 (1), pp. 89-122.

Johnsrud, L.K., Atwater, C.D. (1993). Scaffolding the ivory tower: building supports for faculty new to the academy. CUPA Journal, Spring 1993, 1-14.

Lie, Suzanne Stiver, and O'Leary, Virginia E., editors (1990). Storming the Tower: Women in the Academic World. New York: Nichols/GP Publishing.

Massachusetts Institute of Technology (1999). A Study on the Status of Women Faculty in Science at MIT. The MIT Faculty Newsletter, XI (4), March 1999. On line at (15 October 2001).

Menges, Robert J., & Exum, Willliam H. (1983). Barriers to the progress of women and minority faculty. Journal of Higher Education, 54, 123-144.

Morley, L. & V. Walsh (eds) (1995) Feminist Academics: creative agents for change. London: Taylor & Francis.

Ng, Roxana (1995) Teaching against the grain: Contradictions and possibilities, in Ng, Roxana, et. al. (Eds.), Anti-racism, Feminism and Critical Approaches to Education,. Westport, CT: Bergin & Garvey.

Ng, Roxana (1993) "A Woman Out of Control": Deconstructing Sexism & Racism in the University. Canadian Journal of Education, 18(3), 189-205.

Paludi, M.A. & Barickman, R.B. (1991) Academic and workplace sexual harassment: A resource manual. Albany, NY: State University of New York Press.

Patai, Daphne (1998). Galloping contradictions: sexual harassment in academe. Gender Issues, 16 (1/2) pp. 86-106.

Park, S. (1996) Research, teaching and service: why shouldn't women's work count? Journal of Higher Education, 67: 47-84.

Ponterotto, Joseph G. (1990). Racial/ethnic minority and women students in higher education: A status report. New directions for Student Services, 52, 45-59.

Prentice, Susan (2000). The Conceptual Politics of Chilly Climate Controversies. Gender and Education, 12 (2), 195-207.

President's Advisory Committee on the Status of Women, University of Saskatchewan (1991). Reinventing our legacy: The chills which affect women. In The Chilly Climate Collective (Eds.), Breaking anonymity: The chilly climate for women faculty (pp. 171-209). Waterloo, Ontario: Wilfrid Laurier University Press.

Riger, S., Stokes, J, Raja, S., & Sullivan, M. (forthcoming). Measuring the work environment for female faculty. Review of Higher Education.

Sandler, B.R., & Hall, R. ( 1986). The campus climate revisited: Chilly for women faculty, administrators and graduate students. Washington, D.C.: Association of American Colleges and Universities. [See <> for further information]

Stalker, Jacqueline and Susan Prentice, Eds.(1998). The Illusion of Inclusion: Women in Post-Secondary Education. Halifax: Ferwood Publishing.

Tack, Martha W., & Patitu, Carol L. (1992). Faculty job satisfaction: Women and minorities in peril. ASHE-ERIC Higher Education Report #4. (Especially pp. 33-75.)

Theodore, A. (1986). The campus troublemakers: Academic women in protest. Houston: Cap & Gown Press.

Tierney, W. G., & Bensimon, Estela Mara. (1996). (EN)Gender(ING) socialization. In Tierney, W. G., & Bensimon, E.M., Promotion and tenure: Community & socialization in Academe (pp. 75-102). Albany: SUNY Press.

Tierney, William G. & Bensimon, Estela Mara (1996) Promotion and Tenure: Community and socialization in academe. Albany: SUNY Press.

Tierney, William G. (1997). Organizational socialization in higher education. Journal of Higher Education, 68, 1-16.

Tierney, William G., & Rhoads, Robert A. (1993). Enhancing promotion, tenure and beyond: Faculty socialization as a cultural process. ASHE-ERIC Higher Education Reports #6. (pp. 63-72).

Bias in Student Evaluations

Baker, Phyllis & Copp, Martha (1997). Gender performance matters most: The interaction of gendered expectations, feminist course content and pregnancy in students' course evaluations. Teaching Sociology 25(1), 29-43.

Basow, Susan A. (1995). Student evaluations of college professors: When gender matters. Journal of Educational Psychology, 87(4), 656-665.

Basow, Susan, & Silberg, N. T. (1987). Student evaluations of college professors: Are male and female professors rated differently? Journal of Educational Psychology, 79(3), 308-314.

Bennet, S. K. (1982). Student perceptions and expectations for male and female instructors: Evidence relating to the question of gender bias in teaching evaluation. Journal of Educational Psychology, 74(2), 170-179.

Brooks, V. R. (1982). Sex differences in student dominance behavior in female and male professors' classrooms. Sex Roles, 8 (7), 683-690.

Greenwald, A. G., & Gillmore, G. M. (1996, in prep). No pain, no gain? The importance of measuring course workload in student ratings of instruction.

Kaschak, E. (1978) Sex bias in students' evaluations of professors' teaching methods. Psychology of Women Quarterly, 3 (3), l35-l43.

Kaschak, E. (1981) Another look at sex bias in students evaluations of professors: Do winners get the recognition that they have been given? Psychology of Women Quarterly, Summer, l981.

Kierstead, D., D'Agostino, P., & Dill, H. (1988). Sex role stereotyping of college professors: Bias in students' ratings of instructors. Journal of Educational Psychology, 80(3), 342-344.

Koblitz, N. (1993). Bias and other factors in student ratings. Chronicle of Higher Education, September 1, 1993, B3.

Martin, Elaine (1984). Power and Authority in the Classroom: Sexist Stereotypes in Teaching Evaluations. Journal of Women in Culture and Society, 9, 482-492.

Moore, Melanie (1997). Student resistance to course content: Reactions to the gender of the messenger. Teaching Sociology 25(2), 128-33.

Sandler, B. R. (1991). Women faculty at work in the classroom, or why it still hurts to be a woman in labor. Communication Education (January), 6-15.

Schuster, M. R., & Van Dyne, S. R. (1985). The changing classroom. In M. R. Schuster & S. R. Van Dyne (Eds.), Women's place in the academy, (pp. 161-171). Totowa, New Jersey: Rowman & Allanheld.

Statham, A., Richardson, L., & Cook, J. (1991). Gender and university teaching: A negotiated difference: SUNY Press.

Bias in Hiring and Evaluation

(for bias in student ratings see section above). Studies examining sex bias in evaluation of performance that may be relevant to the situation for women faculty:

Butler, D., & Geis, F. L. (1990). Nonverbal affect responses to male and female leaders: Implications for leadership evaluations. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 58, 48-59.

Deaux, K. & Farris, E. (1977). Attributing causes for one's own performance: The effects of sex, norms, and outcome. Journal of Research in Personality, 11, 59-72.

Deaux, K. &Taynor, J. (1973). Evaluation of male and female ability: Bias works two ways. Psychological Reports, 32, 261-262.

Deaux, K., & Emswiller, T. (1974). Explanations of successful performance on sex-linked tasks. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 29, 80-85.

Fidell, L.S. (1970) Empirical verification of sex discrimination in hiring practices in psychology. American Psychologist, 25, 1094-1098.

Geis, F.L,. Carter, M.R. and Butler, D.J. (1982) Research on Seeing and Evaluating People, Office of Women's Affairs, University of Delaware, 1982.

Goldberg, P.A. (1968). Are women prejudiced against women? Transactions. 5, 28-30.

Mai-Dalton, R R. & Sullivan, J. J. (1981). The effects of manager's sex on the assignment to a challenging or dull task and reasons for the choice. Academy of Management Journal, 24, 603-614.

Nieva, Veronica F. & Barbara A. Gutek (1980) Sex Effects on Evaluation. Academy of Management Review, 5 (2): 267-276

Paludi, M. A., & Bauer, W. D. (1983). Goldberg revisited: What's in an author's name. Sex Roles, 9, 387-390.

Swim, J. et al. (1989). Joan McKay versus John McKay: Do gender stereotypes bias evaluations? Psychological Bulletin, 105, 409-429.

Taylor, M. S., & Ilgen, D. R. (1981). Sex discrimination against women in initial placement decisions: A laboratory investigation. Academy of Management Journal, 24, 859-865.

Unger, R. & Saundr (1993) Sexism: An integrated perspective. In F.L. Denmark & M.A. Paludi (Eds.) Psychology of Women: A handbook of issues and theories (pp. 141-188). Wesport, CT: Greenwood Press.

Balancing academic and personal responsibilities

American Association of University Professors (2001). Statement of Principles on Family Responsibilities
and Academic Work. On line at <> [5 Nov 2001].

Cole, JR & Zuckerman, H. (1984). The productivity puzzle: Persistence and change in patterns of publication of men and women scientists. Advances in Motivation and Achievement, 2, 217-258.

Freyd, J.J. (1990) Faculty members with young children need more flexible schedules. Chronicle of Higher Education., February 21, 1990, B2.

Hensel, N. (1989). Resolving the conflict: parenting and professorship. The NEA Higher Education Journal, V, 71-84.

Landau, Susan (1991). Tenure Track, Mommy Track. Association for Women in Mathematics Newsletter, May-June 1991. (Also reprinted in shortened form in the Notices of the American Mathematical Society, September 1991, pp. 703-4.)

Landau, Susan (1994). Universities and the Two-Body Problem. Computing Research Newsletter, March, 1994, pg. 4. (Also reprinted in the Newsletter of the Association for Women in Mathematics, March 1994, pp. 12-14.)

Riger, S., Stokes, J, Raja, S., & Sullivan, M. (1997). Measuring perceptions of the work environment for female faculty. Review of Higher Education 21 (1), 63-78.

Wilson, Robin (2001). A Push to Help New Parents Prepare for Tenure Reviews. Chronicle of Higher Education, November 9, 2001, A10.

See also works listed in the L.C. subject classes "Women college teachers", "Women college teachers -- United States -- Family relationships", and "Work and family -- United States".

more references to be added...

Other Data on Bias

Pay Inequity

Overall across all employment in the United States women earned 71.5% of what men earned as of 1993. This figure while depressing is up some since figures from 1963 (59.6%), 1973 (56.6%), and 1983 (63.6%). [Source: National Committee on Pay Equity, 1994, presented in Unger & Crawford, ]

Studies that have looked at pay for men and women holding the very same jobs also show inequities (e.g. Nieva & Gutek, 1981 [Women and Work: A psychological perspective, Praeger]; Kim and Johnson, 1984 [article in Journal of Social Service Research, 8, 61-70]).

An article on page 10 in the 5 May 1989 issue of AAAS Observer (a newsletter that was published by the American Association for the Advancement of Science -- publishers of Science magazine) presents salaries of PhD scientists and engineers by sex and experience, showing that as years of experience go up the pay gap increases in absolute dollars. Most importantly, this article presents PhD women's salaries as a percentage of men's by field in 1987, and shows that women psychologists earn about 85% of what men psychologists earn (with the average for women in all fields in science and engineering earning approximately 80% of what men earn).

A persistent disparity: graph from is consistent with the claim made in Sandler & Hall's 1986 report "The Campus Climate Revisited: Chilly for Women Faculty, Administrators, and Graduate Students" [Washington, D.C: Project on the Status and Education of Women, Association of American Colleges] that "at every rank, in every field, at every type of institution, women still earn less than their male counterparts." [As their source, Sandler & Hall cite Academe, 72(2), March-April 1986, page 10.]

Data collected by the American Association of University Professors (Chronicle of Higher Education, 2003; Fogg, 2003) indicates that, at all academic ranks and in all types of ranked institutions of higher education, women continue to earn on average less than men. The gap exists at all levels including entry level, and has been quite stable at about 10% for more than a decade.

Chronicle of Higher Education (1996). Average Faculty Salaries at 1,800 Institutions, 1995-96. 8 April 1996. On line in "Academe Today:Fact Files:Average Faculty Salaries": <URL:>.

Chronicle of Higher Education (1997). Average Faculty Salaries at 1,800 Institutions, 1996-97. 11 May 1998. On line in "Academe Today:Fact Files:Average Faculty Salaries by sex": <URL:>.

Chronicle of Higher Education (2003). Faculty Salaries [1994-2003].. <URL:>

Fogg, Piper (2003). The Gap that won't go away: women continue to lag behind men in pay; the reasons may have little to do with gender bias. Chronicle of Higher Education, 49 (32), April 18, 2003, A12. <URL:>.

Unger & Crawford (1996).Women and Gender: A feminist psychology, McGraw-Hill.

more references to be added...

Pay Inequity in the Life Sciences

During summer of 2001, AAAS (the American Association for the Advancement of Science, which published the journal Science) surveyed for the first time its 70,000 members who work in the area of life sciences.

Among their findings relevant to gender:

Men earn almost one-third more than women: $94,000 versus $72,000. The difference is greatest among academic administrators, where the midpoint is $120,000 for men and $75,000 for women; in industry and government, the figures are $160,000 for men and $125,000 for women. Although gender differences in pay are notoriously hard to interpret, the report finds evidence that 'women are paid less for similar work even when type of employer is held constant.' . . . [B]y a margin of 36% to 10%, women report more often than men that taking leave for personal or family reasons is disadvantageous to their careers. (Holden, 2001).

Those interested can find additional info at the following AAAS/Science sites:

Chander, Renuka and Jeffrey Mervis (12 October 2001). The Bottom Line for U.S. Life Scientists. Science Magazine 294 (554), p 395. On line at (15 Oct 2001).

Holden, Constance (12 October 2001). General Contentment Masks Gender Gap in First AAAS Salary and Job Survey. Science Magazine 294 (554), pp 396 ff. On line at (15 Oct 2001).

Holden, Constance (12 October 2001). Miniprofiles. Science Magazine 294 (554), pp 401 ff. On line at (15 Oct 2001).

Bias in Peer Review

Wennerds, Christine, & Wold, Agnes (1997). Nepotism and Sexism in Peer Review. Nature 307 (6631), p. 341 (22 May 1997).

more references to be added...

Tenure Inequity

Have we achieved tenure equity? According to Sandler & Hall (1986) ["The Campus Climate Revisited: Chilly for Women Faculty, Administrators, and Graduate Students" Washington, D.C: Project on the Status and Education of Women, Association of American Colleges] "the higher the rank, the fewer the women." They report that between 1972 and 1981, the percentage of tenured male faculty increased by 17.7 %; the percentage of tenured female faculty increased by 13.4%." Sandler & Hall (1986) also report that women have been less likely to receive tenure than men: 47% of women faculty are tenured, compared to 69 % of the men. [As their source, Sandler & Hall cite Academe, 72(2), March-April 1986, page 15.]

Related Online Resources

Last update 19 Apr 2003 by
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