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Pathways, Potholes, and the Persistence of Women in Science

Reconsidering the Pipeline

Edited by Enobong Hannah Branch - Contributions by Sharla Alegria; Mindy Anderson-Knott; Catherine White Berheide; Enobong Hannah Branch; Mary Frank Fox; Lisa Frehill; Rachel Gordon; Patricia Wonch Hill; Laura Hirshfield; Apriel K. Hodari; Mary Anne Holmes; Kathryn Kline; Lily Ko; Julia McQuillan; Maria Ong; Cassaundra Rodriguez; Timothy Sacco; Laurel Smith-Doerr; Angela Stoutenburgh; Margaret Usdansky and Kathrin Zippel

Training for and pursuing a career in science can be treacherous for women; many more begin than ultimately complete at every stage. Characterizing this as a pipeline problem, however, leads to a focus on individual women instead of structural conditions. The goal of the book is to offer an alternative model that better articulates the ideas of agency, constraint, and variability along the path to scientific careers for women. The chapters in this volume apply the metaphor of the road to a variety of fields and moments that are characterized as exits, pathways, and potholes.
The scholars featured in this volume engaged purposefully in translation of sociological scholarship on gender, work, and organizations. They focus on the themes that emerge from their scholarship that add to or build on our existing knowledge of scientific work, while identifying tools as well as challenges to diversifying science. This book contains a multitude of insights about navigating the road while training for and building a career in science.
Collectively, the chapters exemplify the utility of this approach, provide useful tools, and suggest areas of exploration for those aiming to broaden the participation of women and minorities. Although this book focuses on gendered constraints, we are attentive to fact that gender intersects with other identities, such as race/ethnicity and nativity, both of which influence participation in science. Several chapters in the volume speak clearly to the experience of underrepresented minorities in science and others consider the circumstances and integration of non-U.S. born scientists, referred to in this volume as international scientists. Disaggregating gender deepens our understanding and illustrates how identity shapes the contours of the scientific road.
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Lexington Books
Pages: 278Size: 6 1/4 x 9 3/8
978-1-4985-1636-5 • Hardback • May 2016 • $90.00 • (£60.00)
978-1-4985-1637-2 • eBook • May 2016 • $85.00 • (£54.95)
Enobong Hannah Branch is associate professor of sociology at University of Massachusetts-Amherst.
Introduction, Enobong Hannah Branch

Part I: Navigating the Scientific Path
Chapter 1: Gendered Responses to Failure in Undergraduate Computing: Evidence, Contradictions, and New Directions, Enobong Hannah Branch and Sharla Alegria
Chapter 2: Is College Enough? Gender Disparities in the Use of Science and Engineering
Degrees in the Workforce, Margaret L. Usdansky and Rachel A. Gordon

Part II: Detours, Off-Ramps, and Gendered Roadblocks in Scientific Careers
Chapter 3: Women Faculty in Computing: A Key Case of Women in Science, Mary Frank Fox and Kathryn Kline
Chapter 4: Does the Road Improve in the Land of the Tenured? Exploring Perceptions of Culture and Satisfaction by Rank and Gender, Julia McQuillan, Mary Ann Holmes, Patricia Wonch Hill, and Mindy Anderson-Knott
Chapter 5: Potholes and Detours on the Road to Full Professor: A Tale of STEM Faculty at Two Liberal Arts Colleges, Catherine White Berheide

Part III: What the Pipeline Misses: Gender Performance at Work
Chapter 6: Crisis of Confidence: Young Women Doing Gender and Science, Laurel Smith-Doerr, Timothy Sacco, and Angela Stoutenburgh
Chapter 7: Who’s the Expert? Gendered Conceptions and Expressions of Expertise by Chemists-in-Training, Laura Hirshfield

Part IV: Differential On-Ramps? Historical Forces Shaping the Scientific Workforce
Chapter 8: The Postdoc Pothole: The Changing Segmentation of the Biomedical Research Workforce, 1993-2008, Lisa M. Frehill
Chapter 9: The Long Shadow of Immigration Policy: “Appropriate Work” and Wage Inequality in U.S. Tech Work, Sharla Alegria and Cassaundra Rodriguez

Part V: Creating a Road Map: Strategies for Persistence
Chapter 10: Pathways for Women in Global Science, Kathryn Zippel
Chapter 11: Agency of Women of Color in STEM: Individual and Institutional Strategies for Persistence and Success, Maria Ong, Lily T. Ko, and Apriel K. Hodari
Chapter 12: Smooth Roads to Promotion: Creating Data Guided and Community Generated Changes for Eliminating Bumps and Potholes, Julia McQuillan, Mary Ann Holmes, Patricia Wonch Hill, and Mindy Anderson-Knott
This work offers an analysis of the under representation of women in science through a compilation of 12 chapters submitted by distinguished researchers in the areas of sociology, public policy, gender studies, and STEM education. Despite increases in the number of women in the 'pipeline' toward many STEM fields, women appear to significantly disappear from the workforce at various stages in their careers. Some factors discussed include obstacles to faculty positions, tenure, and expectations for post-tenure promotions. The book is organized into five parts: 'Navigating the Scientific Path,' 'Detours, Off-Ramps, and Gendered Roadblocks in Scientific Careers,' 'What the Pipeline Misses: Gender Performance at Work,' 'Differential On-Ramps? Historical Forces Shaping the Scientific Workforce,' and 'Creating a Road Map: Strategies for Persistence.' A few chapters examine employment profiles of scientists of color and/or immigrants. This work is highly recommended for courses in gender studies or those that focus on diversity in the workforce.Summing Up: Highly recommended. All readers.

This collection reports on the complex patterns of women’s progress in science and engineering fields in the United States. . . .Branch and the contributors to this volume argue that the pipeline metaphor directs attention away from women’s agency in taking on career opportunities and challenges, and vastly oversimplifies the complexities of career paths and the educational, employment, and policy settings that shape the obstacles and opportunities along those paths. These well-written essays provide ample evidence of the greater explanatory power of a multidimensional ‘pathways’ metaphor. . . .This volume will be helpful to those focused on improving organizational and disciplinary integration, whether through a research agenda, or the active pursuit of more effective policies and practices (or both!). A broad range of methodologies are described, with sufficient detail to enable others to build on this work. Those using secondary sources have made strengths and shortcomings clear. Researchers will benefit from Branch and Alegria’s conclusion that men’s paths must also be studied rather than presumed. And several chapters provide useful examples of intersectional analyses. . . .We have come far from the argument that professional integration is a doomed attempt to fit a square peg in a round hole. This volume helps explain the myriad historical forces contributing to current realities as well as the dynamics of groups and organizations that might most effectively be interrupted or encouraged as we work toward equality.
Gender & Society

This edited volume is a welcome addition to the social science literature on women and the STEM + computing disciplines. It problematizes the metaphor of a scientific workforce pipeline, which is all too commonly accepted without reflection as the basis for policy and intervention. The book examines four major components of this pipeline: STEM field selection by women, women in STEM faculty positions, women in the STEM workforce, and exogenous forces such as federal funding and immigration that shape the demographics of the STEM workforce. The volume contains many thoughtful articles by well-established members of the social science community interested in issues of representation in the STEM disciplines.
William Aspray, Bill and Lewis Suit Professor, School of Information, University of Texas at Austin

The chapters in this book are held together by a compelling metaphor that illuminates the supports and constraints that confront women on their journey in science. As a result, the individual chapters together provide evidence for a larger understanding how institutional and systemic factors undercut women's participation in STEM. This book also brings to life why metaphors matter!
Jane Margolis, UCLA Graduate School of Education and Information Studies

This is a comprehensive account of the social forces that facilitate or impede women’s paths into and out of science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) careers. By immersing the reader into the many contexts that give rise to supports for some and obstacles for others seeking to succeed in STEM careers, each chapter increases our understanding of why creating the kinds of change needed to diversify STEM work is so difficult. Each chapter provides a nuanced understanding of the many forms that pathways to science—and the roadblocks on those roads—take.
Sharon Bird, Oklahoma State University

This book collects the work of many leading scholars investigating the intersections of race, class, and gender with science and technology. By mapping the structural impediments to entry and persistence faced by women, people of color, and other underrepresented groups in higher education and in the workforce and providing strategies to help improve these interconnected systems, the authors lay a foundation from which we can work toward greater inclusion and diversity.
Tim Faiella, National Center for Women & IT