Barnard Alumnae Magazine
Columbia Women's Liberation
Report from the Committee on Discrimination
Against Women Faculty
A Columbia Women’s Liberation group, formed in the spring of 1969,
grew out of women’s consciousness that the problems of sexual status must be
articulated in political and economic terms. We concentrate on the problems
that women face in common because of society’s attitudes . . . problems which
are not a matter for individual adjustment but require group action. As a
university organization, we can focus on several areas: education and
curricular questions; health care; employment practices as they affect teaching
and administrative staff; the criteria for awarding graduate school fellowships;
child care. This report summarizes the research of a small group of graduate
students and junior faculty who are concerned about the employment practices
of this university.
Our method is simple. We have tabulated the number of women and men
doing the same job. Percentages of the totals may then be constructed.
In the case of ambiguous catalogue listings, by calling Department offices
we double-checked names whose gender was unclear. The report uses the
catalogues of the various divisions of the university, the yearly publication
recording the names and fields of all Master’s and Doctor’s degrees awarded,
the American Association of University Professors’ annual salary reports,
national statistics and a few other relevant publications.‘
The only fully satisfactory way to prove discriminatory practices would be
the case-history method. We did not have the facilities to carry out a proper
investigation along these lines, but the university should consider making such
a study. Information could be sought from former and present faculty members,
male and female, and from unsuccessful applicants of both sexes for positions
at Columbia and Barnard. The criteria of departmental hiring committees could
be investigated and assessed. The study should be extended to include comparable
schools where similar hiring criteria will operate. Salary scales for women and
men must be compared, as well as their rates of promotion. Clearly we
recommend broader and more detailed studies, since ours is only an introduction
to the facts of discrimination. 4
In studying the different numbers of men and women employed
by the various divisions of Columbia University, we did not assume that a 50/50
ratio was either immediately desirable or justifiable. We based our expectation
of the proportion of female faculty to male on the proportion of women
known to have the appropriate training, namely a Ph.D., excluding for the time
being most other factors affecting the employment of men and women with
Ph.D.s. For example, there is evidence that suggests that women in some fields
should be represented in higher proportions than that of degrees earned on
the grounds that women are more likely than men to be employed by educational V
institutions, the men working instead in industry and government.’ A fuller
‘ The figures on degrees earned by subject and sex are taken from Federal Security
Agency, Office of Education, Circular numbers 262 (1949), 28221 (1950), 3333
(1951), 3602. (1952) ; Department of Health, Education and Welfare, Office of
Education, Circular numbc-.rs.380a (1953), 418 (1954), 461 (1955), 499 (1956),
527 (1957), 570 (1958). And OE 54010-59; OE 54010-60; OE 54010-61; “Earned
Degrees Conferred 1961-2”; OE 50039-63; OE 54010-65; OE 54013a-66. Degrees earned
in general by sex, from 1900-1957, from IIi.itorical Statistics 0/ the United States:
Colonial Times to 1957 (Series H327-338). Statistics from 1957-66 are aggregations
of the disaggregated data from Office of Education circulars.
9 Women and the Scientific Profession, edited by Jacquelyn A. Hatfield and Carolyn
G. Van Aken, Cambridge, Mass., M.I.T. Press, 1965, p. 63. VVOn1en are, however,
report would have to consider such factors.
Since a woman does not invest time, energy and money in obtaining a
doctorate in order to be a better wife and mother or more entertaining companion
for her husband, women should be represented in a proportion that reflects
the numbers of doctorates going to women. Those who argue that a woman’s »
commitment to her profession differs from that of a man must be able to cite
detailed studies of the career patterns of highly trained women.°
Women earned an average of 15 per cent of all doctorates awarded during
the 1940s; an average of 10 per cent of all doctorates awarded during the
19505; and an average of 11 per cent during the 19605. Given the normal
timetable of the academic career, we would expect to find the women who
earned their degrees in the 19405 represented now in the higher ranks of the
faculty of Columbia and comparable institutions in a proportion of 15
per cent, and in the lower ranks in a proportion of 10 per cent. The following
table, drawn from Columbia’s catalogues for the academic year 1968-69
tells another story.‘
How Should W/omen
Associate Assistant Preccptors
Scrroor. Professor Professor Professor Instructor Lecturer Assistants
Columbia 1/133 0/68 7/101 8/76 -—— 20/50
College (0.7%) (0%) (6.5%) (9.5%) (29%)
Law 0/34 0/2 0/4 — —- ——
School (0%) (0%) (0%)
School of 1
Dental & 0/78 1/70 1/102 0/54 —~ ' 0/31
Oral Surgery (0%) (1%) (1%) (0%) (0%)
School of 3/87 0/23 1/17 0/1 —— --
Int’l. Affairs v (3%) (0%) (6%) V (0%)
School of 2/37 0/23 0/13 ——- —- -—
Business (5%) (0%) (0%)
General 5/49 8/28 8/48 17/42 -—- 1 24/43
Studies (9%) (22%) (14%) (29%) (36%)
Graduate 8/367 10/74 "7/52 — I --
Faculties (2.1%) (12%) (12%)
Barnard 11/38 12/12 21/12 15/16 ' —— 23/5
College (22%) (50%) (64%) (48%) (82%)
American 0/3 129/16
Language — -— - ~— —- (0% ) (64%)
EXPLANATION: The figures given above are the ratio of women to men in that category.
The figures in parentheses below this ratio are the percentages of
the total number of teachers represented by women.
more likely to earn a Ph.D. in the humanities rather than in science. In 1966, for
example, 17.4% of the doctorates in the humanities and social sciences went to
women although only 11% of all Ph.D.s awarded went to women.
3 A study of 1,979 women who received doctorates in the years 1957-8 showed that
91% were working, 81% of them full-time. (Helen Astin, The Woman Doctorate,
Basic Books, 1970, quoted by Malcolm J. Scully, “Women in Higher Education
Challenging the Status Quo,” The Chronicle of Higher Education, Feb. 9, 1970,
pp. 2-5, especially p. 4).
4 For professional‘ schools such as Law, Dental and Oral Surgery, International
BARNARD ALUMNAE'/ SPRING 1970 / 13
Barnard College and
What It Imlirates
For full professors in the eight divisions that employ them, the actual
percentage is 5.2 per cent (2.8 per cent if Barnard is excluded). This compares
rather badly with the 15 per cent of doctorates that were earned by women
in this age group. The Barnard figure hardly compensates for the lack of
female representation in the other, better-paid divisions. Even at Barnard,
78 per cent of the full professors are men. In the 19505, women received
10 per cent of the doctorates awarded. Since in over half the divisions shown
on the chart, women are not represented at all at the Associate Professor
level, there is no need to belabor this disturbing lack.
In the lower ranks, women constitute a much higher proportion of the
total teaching staff than they do at the upper levels. Women received 11 per
cent of the Ph.D.s awarded between 1960-58. At some divisions of Columbia,
their numbers exceed this proportion at both Assistant Professor and Instructor
levels. However, this distribution begins ‘to reveal another aspect of the
university’s hiring practices. Overall, women are concentrated in the lower
ranks, and have been for several years. They are also to some degree
segregated by sex by being confined to Barnard College, General Studies and
the Graduate Faculties. Women constitute a majority of only one category-—
part-time employment (Preceptors, Assistants and Associates).
This data reflects two major tendencies. The greater the
proportion of women students, the greater the number of women faculty at
all ranks. Second, the higher the rank and the better the pay, the fewer
the number of women at that rank. While to some minds this arrangement
may have an appealing symmetry, we believe that it reflects and reinforces a
marked inequality of opportunity and compensation.
The role of Barnard College as an equalizer in the otherwise male~dominated
Columbia community is worth examining for other clues about the status of
women. Although 78 per cent of Barnard’s full professors are men, the number of
men and women employed in full-time teaching there is almost equal. Barnard
and Wellesley are the only Seven Sisters colleges to hire more women than men, 1
but at all these colleges except Wellesley, men control the full professorships and
the chairmanships.5 Even the one group of educational institutions founded to
give women college educations and access to professional careers do not, after
more than 50 years of activity, serve as models demonstrating to the rest of the
community the abilities of women to manage demanding careers in responsible
positions theoretically open to them.
All these women’s colleges lack the endowment of their male equivalents;
all of them have fewer facilities; all pay lower salaries to their faculty.
The differences between Barnard and Columbia salaries are well known,
‘Affairs and Business, the proportion of degrees earned by women is a more accurate
guide than the overall proportion of doctorates earned by women. The following
data for post-1949 degrees will give some idea of the proportion of Ph.D.s going to
women in these subjects.
1949-53 -1954-59 1961-6
Law ~ .02 .03 .04-
History .11 .12 .11
Political Science .08 .06 .08
Sociology .14 .14 .19
Economics .06 .04 .05
Business ' i .07 .03 1 .03
5 Token Learning: A Study 0/ Women’s Higher Education in America, Education
Committee of the National Organization for Women, New York Chapter (Kate
Millet, Chairman), 1968, pp. 37-40.
varying from an average of over $5,500 at the full professor level to $1,765
at assistant professor level.‘
Columbia Full Professor: $22,540 average compensation
Barnard Full Professor: $16,892 average compensation
Columbia Associate Prof.: $14,909 average compensation
Barnard Associate Prof.: $12,188 average compensation -
Columbia Assistant Prof.: $11,486 average compensation
_ Barnard Assistant Prof.: $9,721 average compensation
It should be noted that not only the absolute but also the percentage
differential in compensation between Barnard and Columbia increases with rank.
These salary differences do not measure relative excellence but rather punish
those engaged in the education of women. They are a direct reflection of the
value society places on women’s education and on women’s role in society.
We suggest it is urgent that Barnard bring salaries up to the level of those
at Columbia in order to prevent further penalization of Barnard’s faculty.
Statistics for the Graduate Faculties of Columbia, the division responsible
for training graduate students and granting degrees, show a startling contrast
between the percentage of doctoral degrees awarded to women and the
percentage of women employed full-time, especially in tenured positions. The
rise in percentages of doctorates awarded to women may mean that more women
are going on to a .Ph.D. after completing the MA program than used to be
the case. Investigation is needed in this area. Thirty-eight per cent of current
graduate students are women.
1956-7 1960-61 1964-65 1966-67 1967-8
Female 11 39 75 88 99
' Male 229 300 369 298 307
% Female 4.6% 11.5% 16.9% 22.8% 24.3%
As the table shows, the proportion of Columbia doctorates awarded to women
has risen steadily from 4.6 per cent to 24 per cent in a decade. The percentage
of women with tenure in the Graduate Faculties has, however, remained
steady at just over 2 per cent since 1957.
TENURED FACULTY IN -THE GRADUATE FAGULTXES7
1957-58 1958-59 1959-60 1965-66 1966-67 1968-69
Female 7 8 7 9 9 8
Male 287 318 298 348 370 367
% Female 2.4% 2.4% 2.6% 2.5% 2.3% 2.1%
In recent years this meager percentage has even suffered a decline.
VVe think that it is essential for Columbia University to hire more women
in the Graduate Faculties, particularly since it is clear that to do so requires
no sacriﬁce of standards. We are puzzled by the Graduate Faculties’
commitment to train women, but not to hire them. We know from experience
as students and teachers that it is vital for women students in graduate
school to see women engaged in the academic profession as naturally
as men are. At present, many/vs/omen students will never have any contacts
with such role models, or,will meet so few that they become used to the idea
of women as exceptions in the more demanding areas of the academic world.
Students will not be unaware either that most of the tenured women they
AAUP Bulletin 1968. Compensation is defined as salary plus fringe benefits.
7 Part-time and visiting appointments are excluded, as are cross-listed appointments.
BARNARD ALUMNAE / SPRING 1970 / 15
Graduate Faculties and the
meet are single, and thus in theory able to devote more of their time to their
profession than their married male colleagues. They will not be unaware
either that the small number of women with tenure in the Graduate Faculties
are all exceptionally distinguished scholars, whose presence helps perpetuate
the unfortunate idea that to succeed in any professional career, a woman
has to be not just as good, but several times as good as a man. Tokenism
is always based on abnormal criteria of excellence in order to limit the number
of qualified people of certain races and sexes with access to a profession.
Its cost is the high expectation of failure for the discriminated group. By the
obvious scarcity of women training women graduates, the institution
acclimatizes women students to their professional expectations: low rank,
low pay, low status, a slower rate of promotion than their male colleagues and
a more difficult tenure hurdle. We note that the percentage of women at
assistant professor level has risen from 4 per cent in 1962-63 to 15 per cent
in 1968-69. It will be interesting to see whether the rise at this level is
reflected over the next five years in an increase in the number of women in the
Graduate Faculties with tenure. The absolute number of women instructors
has risen slightly but the percentage of women at that rank has declined
from 22 per cent in 1963-5 to 13 per cent in 1968-69.
Non-Tenured Ranks, Graduate Faculties
1962-63 1963-64 1964-65 1966-67 1967-68 1968-69
Female 3 6 4 6 10 14
Male 72 71 64- 84- 74- 78
% Female 4% 7.7% 5.9% 6.6% 11.9% 15.2%
1962-63 1963-64 1964-65 ‘ 1966-67 1967-68 1968-69
‘Female 4 13 1 9 9 ' 7 ’ 11’ '
Male - 28 '45 31 35 52 73
% Female 16.5% 22.4% 22.5% 20.4% 11.9% 13.2%
The percentage of doctorates going to women in subjects long stereotyped
as masculine are in some cases surprisingly high. In the years 1966-68, which
will be quoted throughout this section, 10 per cent of the Chemistry doctorates
went to women; 8.6 per cent of the Physics doctorates went to women; but
no women earned doctorates in the ﬁelds of Geology, Mathematics or
Mathematical ‘Statistics. Columbia has had in the recent past women as
Professors of Physics, Chemistry and Microbiology, and has women as Professors
of Biochemistry and Physics at the moment.
The following section compares percentages of doctorates awarded to women
in specific Departments with the percentages of female faculty in that
Department. Cross-listed faculty are excluded because their appointment and
teaching duties are not primarily in the Graduate Faculties.
66.6% of their doctorates went to women; no full-time female faculty.
Art History & Archeology:
54% of their doctorates went to women; 26% of the tenured faculty is female;
71% of the non-tenured faculty.
45% of their doctorates went to women;-9.5% of the tenured faculty is female;
33% of the non-tenured (La. 2 men, 1 woman).
44% of their doctorates went to women; no full-time female faculty.
36% of their doctorates went to women; no female faculty.
English & Comparative Literature:
27% of their doctorates went to women; 4% (1 woman) of their tenured
faculty is female. i
26.6% of their doctorates went to women; in 1967-8 they had one female
17% of their doctorates went to women; 2 women on their faculty.
17% of their doctorates went to women; no women faculty.
Public Law and Government:
16% of their doctorates went to women; they have one female instructor.
There are 35 men in the department, 26 of them full professors.
It will quickly be seen that only the Department of Art History and
Archeology hires women in numbers even close to the proportion of women
they train. We believe that women should be fairly represented at least in those
departments that attract a proportion of women in excess of 15 per cent.
Women should in fact be hired in all Departments.“
We realize that these ﬁgures do not prove that Columbia University
has in the past discriminated or is new discriminating against women. Given
i these statistics, however, it will be difficult to disprove discrimination. An
l examination of the data does lead one to believe that some discrimination
i ‘must occur, for it is clear that the number of women who hold faculty positions
l is remarkably small, and is in most cases below the national average of labor
i available for that category. Here it is worth noting that the per cent of women
working in all institutions of Higher Education in the United States is 22
per ,cent.9 We believe that women are by and large excluded from the more
prestigious colleges and universities and must find employment instead in
teachers colleges, the smaller liberal arts colleges and junior colleges, where
in fact they can be found in proportions ranging from 34 per cent to 42 per cent.‘°
Undoubtedly it will be argued that academic women marry and drop out
of the labor market while their children are small at least. We would be
interested in ﬁgures based on Columbia’s past employment patterns that
In 1960 John Parrish studied the distribution and numbers of women faculty in
ten high endowment and ten high enrollment institutions of higher education
(“Women in Top Level Teaching and Research”, Journal of the American
Association of University Women, Vol. LV, 1962, Jan., pp. 103-109). Table 4- shows
their distribution by subject, varying from 93.1% of Home Economics faculty
to .2% of Engineering faculty. Columbia was among the high endowment
institutions studied. The percent of women faculty by rank in the eight institutions
with high endowment who responded to the questionnaire in 1960 was:
Full Professor —— 2.6%; Associate Professor —--— 7.5% ; Assistant Professor —
8.5%; Instructor —- 9.8%. With Barnard excluded, Columbizr’s current faculty
i’ enrollment shows a lower percentage of women at all ranks than Parrish’s 1960 study.
9 Scully, “Women in Higher Education,” p. 2. The median salary of women in
Higher Education was 16.5% less than that of men in 1965-6 and 18% less in 1968.
lojessie Bernard, Academic Women, Pennsylvania State University Press, 1964-,
provides many useful statistics on the distribution of women in American institutions
of higher education.
BARNARD ALUMNAE / SPRING 1970 / 17
substantiate such claims. Other studies have shown that the more training
a woman receives and the better her job, the more likely she is to remain in
full—time employment, even if she has children.“ Academic women are also
more likely to remain single than other women, and to have small families
when they do marry.” A trained woman is also ﬁnancially in a position to
hire domestic and child-care help for those tasks she wishes to delegate.
Granted these observations, we suspect any explanation of the position of
women in academic life that relies too heavily on the conditions of their supply
rather than on the conditions of the market’s demand for them.
Given the ﬁndings of this report, we call upon the university, perhaps
through the Senate, to undertake four tasks:
1. to prepare a full study of the status of women faculty in the university, using
sources that were not available to us, e.g. salaries. Half at least of the persons
concerned with that study should be women.
2. to declare its unequivocal support of the right of women to equal employment
opportunities and equal pay compared with those of men of comparable
qualifications and ability. Such a declaration will mean the hiring of
more women at all ranks in all divisions and a review of their salaries.
3. to engage in intelligent discussions of child care and paid leave for child
birth, available to all employees of the university, whether faculty,
administration or staff.
4-. to invite submission of reports of alleged discrimination to a Committee on
Employment Practices, and further to have such a Committee initiate
investigations into the ‘hiring patterns that may be discerned in various
departments and divisions of the university.
This report was prepared by Rachel DuPlessis [Rachel Blau ’63] Preceptor,
English;.Linda Edwards, graduate student, Economics; Ann Sutherland Harris, ,
Assistant Professor, Art History 8: Archeology; Kate Millett, Instructor,
Philosophy (Barnard); and Harriet Zellner, graduate student, Economics.
Joan Mitchell collected the catalogues. Cl
“ See note 3. See also Evelyne Sullerot, Histoire et Sociologie du Travail Feminin,
Editions Gonthicr, Paris, 1968, pp. 300-302. Columbia University does not own
this book, the best comprehensive study of women and work published to date.
Sullerot (p. 318) also cites French studies that show absenteeism among women
lessens in inverse proportion to the degree of education they have received, and that
level of education is a more important factor than either marriage or the arrival
'9 Women and the Scientific Professions, p. 75 and Womrlnjzower, National Manpower
Council, New York, 1957, p. 75. }essie Bernard also notices this factor.
Appendix _ .
Faculty by Ram/e and Sex,
Ratio of Per Cent
Women to Men Women
Full Professors 2 1/125 Under 1%
Associate Prof. 0/50 0
Assistant Prof. 7/88 7.3
Instructor 14/61' 18 ,
Preceptor 15/38 28;
Full Professor 9/31 22
Associate Prof. 16/29 54-
Assistant Prof. 24/33 74-
Instructor 11/20 55
Full Professor 3/45 6
Associate Prof. 3/37 7.5
Assistant Prof. 17/71 19
Instructor 12/25 32
Full Professor 6/324 1
Associate Prof. 2/73 2.6
Assistant Prof. 6/42 12.5
Instructor 2/4 66
Assistant, Associate and Full Professors With
Ph.D.s Granted Between 1960 and 1970 by
Sex (Barnard Excluded as Dates of Ph.D.s
Not Given by Catalogues).
Asst. Prof. 91 (47%) 24- (96%)
Assoc. Prof 74 (38%) 1 (4%)
Full Prof. 30 (15%) 0 (0%)
195 (100%) 25 (100%)
If women faculty with Ph.D.s granted in
the 19505 were distributed in the three ranks
as men faculty are now, there would be 3
female full professors, 9 female associate prof-
essors and 13 female assistant professors. The
average date of the Ph.D. awarded to the
women in the assistant professor category is
1965; of the men 1966. Well over 50 per
cent of the men with 1964- and 1963 Ph.D.s
are associate professors; none of the women
in that category have been promoted.