NSF ADVANCE: Increasing the Participation and Advancement of Women in Academic Science and Engineering Careers

Despite significant increases in the proportion of women pursuing science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) doctoral degrees, women are significantly underrepresented as faculty, particularly in upper ranks, and in academic administrative positions, in almost all STEM fields.  The problems of recruitment, retention, and advancement that are the causes of this underrepresentation vary by discipline and across groups of women faculty (e.g., by race/ethnicity, disability status, sexual orientation, foreign-born and foreign-trained status, and faculty appointment type).  The ADVANCE program is designed to foster gender equity through a focus on the identification and elimination of organizational barriers that impede the full participation and advancement of all women faculty in academic institutions.  Organizational barriers that inhibit equity may exist in areas such as policy, practice, culture, and organizational climate.  For example, practices in academic departments that result in the inequitable allocation of service or teaching assignments may impede research productivity, delay advancement and create a culture of differential treatment and rewards.  Policies and procedures that do not mitigate implicit bias in hiring, tenure, and promotion decisions could mean that women and underrepresented minorities are evaluated less favorably, perpetuating their underrepresentation and contributing to a climate that is not inclusive.