III. Findings and Recommendations of the Task Force
The findings and recommendations of the Task Force emanate from the final reports of each of the Subcommittees and now represent findings and recommendations approved by the Task Force. While each Subcommittee Report provides a more comprehensive discussion, their findings and recommendations are set forth below as adopted by the Task Force.
A. Findings and Recommendations From the Perceptions Measurement Subcommittee
Differences in how men and women faculty members perceived Marquette's climate are reported in Table 3. The means of all climate factors differ significantly between men and women, except personal comfort with those who are different.
The Subcommittee also examined the frequency distribution of indexes greater and less than 4 by gender to determine proportions of men and women who agreed and disagreed with each set of statements. About 13% of men disagreed that decisions at Marquette are fair. In contrast, 42% of women disagreed that decisions at Marquette are fair. Male faculty felt significantly less excluded in their department or unit, and felt that their opinions are more valued, compared to women. The mean values for both men and women suggested that most Marquette faculty felt generally included. Eighty-six percent of men felt they were not excluded from their department, whereas a bare majority of women&emdash;54% felt they were not excluded.
All Marquette faculty professed a belief in the value of diversity and that Marquette should strive to increase the diversity of the faculty. Nonetheless, women faculty stated a significantly stronger diversity value, approaching complete agreement (6.41), compared to moderate agreement among the male faculty (6.01).
The most dramatic difference in perceptions concerned beliefs about whether women have equal access to positions of power within the university. The difference in means exceeds 2 on a 7-point scale. Eleven percent of men disagreed that women have equal access to power positions in the university, and 60% of men agreed. In contrast, 61.5% of women disagreed that women have equal access to positions of authority, and only 5.5% of women agreed.
Men and women also differed significantly in the degree to which they experience a conflict between work and family roles. Given the reversal of the response scale for this set of questions, a larger mean indicated greater disagreement with statements regarding the difficulty of fulfilling both family and work obligations. Women's smaller mean indicated a higher level of reported conflict, compared to men, as would be expected, given traditional gender roles. Half of all women respondents (50.5%) indicated some level of conflict between work and family roles, compared to 36.0% of men. Forty-eight percent (48.4%) of all women agreed to some extent that they delayed or otherwise altered their desired family plans due to the tenure clock, and 30.8% agreed completely. By contrast, only 20.6% of men agreed to some extent that they delayed or otherwise altered their family plans, and 9.6% completely agreed.
Not surprisingly, given the strict deadline and up-or-out nature of the tenure decision, timed during key childbearing years, many women faculty members face a direct conflict between the desire to have a family and the desire to attain tenure. When a woman has a child during her pre-tenure probationary period, it poses two potential threats to a successful tenure bid. First, pregnancy, childbirth, and caring for young children are likely to reduce research productivity. (Marquette's policy of granting a one-year tenure clock extension for up to two children helps alleviate this problem.) Second, some faculty and administrators in the woman's department and college may hold traditional views about a woman's appropriate family responsibilities. If so, having a child may be taken as "evidence" that the woman faculty member is not serious about her academic career, thus reducing support for her tenure bid among her colleagues.
Finally, women reported experiencing and/or witnessing significantly more gender harassment than men. The distributions of responses to the gender and sexual harassment questions are reported in Table 4. Reports of hearing sexually suggestive jokes and stories were not uncommon. Fifty-eight percent (58.4%) of women reported hearing such jokes or stories told in their presence at least once, and 48.7% have experienced it more than once. The reported incidence by men was lower, but 46.9% reported such incidents at least once. Half of all women reported having heard a faculty member or administrator make disparaging remarks about women at least once, and 43.5% reported that it occurred more than once. Thirty-four percent (34.1%) of men reported hearing such remarks once, and 24.4% reported hearing them more than once. Thirty-one percent (31.2%) of women reported having heard a faculty member or administrator make crudely sexual remarks at least once, as did about 15% of men. Sixteen percent (16%) of women reported having experienced an unwelcome sexual advance by a faculty member or administrator, and 18% reported having experienced a faculty member or administrator making an unwelcome attempt to discuss personal sexual matters. It is important to note that the survey explicitly asked about experiences at Marquette no more than five years ago. These data reflect recent experience, and suggest that the climate for women faculty is tainted with a substantial amount of gendered denigration that is perceived to exist by some male faculty, as well as by a substantial number of women faculty.
Although the more severe forms of sexual harassment were rarely reported, reports did occur at Marquette. Three women reported having been subtly bribed in exchange for sexual behavior (dinner, date, kiss), two women reported having been directly threatened or pressured to engage in sexual activity by a faculty or administrator, and fifteen reported one or more experiences of forceful touching, grabbing, fondling or kissing.
The Subcommittee found that women faculty perceived significantly less fairness than men in faculty evaluations, feedback regarding progress toward tenure, the merit reward system, informal senior faculty mentoring, teaching assignments, and the allocation of research and equipment support. The Subcommittee investigated what factors influence perceptions of organizational fairness among both men and women faculty. To answer this question, it estimated a regression equation with organizational fairness as the dependent variable. Possible influences on perceptions of organizational fairness include: gender, faculty rank, whether a woman is in a department with fewer than 25% women on the faculty, feelings of social exclusion, perceptions that women are included in formal power positions in the university, experiencing gender harassment, and seniority. The results, reported in Table 5, indicate that there are two primary determinants of perceptions of organizational fairness: whether individuals felt socially excluded from their department (EXCLUSION), and whether they reported witnessing and/or experiencing gender harassment (GENDER HARASSMENT). Both these experiences significantly reduce the belief that basic evaluation, reward and resource allocation decisions are made fairly. Once the effects of these factors are controlled, gender is no longer a significant influence on perceived organizational fairness. In other words, the difference between men and women in perceptions of organizational fairness can be explained by gender differences in feelings of exclusion and experiences of gender harassment.
One of the concerns that occasioned Fr. Wild's determination to form the Task Force on Gender Equity was the decision of several tenured women faculty (including several of the few women full professors) to leave Marquette University. Thus, the Subcommittee inquired into the determinants of desire or intention to leave Marquette, as captured by the question "Are you actively searching for another position at this time?" The results of the logistic regression estimates of actively searching for another position are reported in Table 6. The results showed that women, senior faculty, and those who perceived that Marquette operates fairly were less likely to be actively looking for another position compared to men, junior faculty, and individuals who perceived a lack of organizational fairness. Assistant professors were significantly more likely to be actively looking for another position than full professors. Although women were less likely than men to be actively searching for another position, they perceived significantly less organizational fairness than men. This suggests that female faculty turnover is fueled by perceptions of a lack of organizational fairness at Marquette.