Document Type


Publication Date

Summer 1987


In this article, an earlier study of the status of academic women sociologists in the Midwest that was extended to 1984-1985 is discussed. Type of appointment, rank, and chairpersons, as well as position in a Ph.D. rather than an M.A. program were used in the study as indicators of employment status. Midwest Sociological Society (MSS) leadership positions and participation in the annual MSS meeting served as indicators of professional participation. The results show that gains in employment status for women slowed in the 1980s. Employment of women in sociology department positions, especially in full-time positions and higher ranks, continued to lag behind the proportion of women Ph.D.s in the field. Women were overrepresented in the secondary labor market of part-time employment. However, women are now almost as likely to be employed in Ph.D. as well as M.A. programs. While gains in employment status generally slowed, professional participation has accelerated in recent years. Possible explanations for the differential penetrability of the two realms are offered. The appropriateness of statistical parity as a standard for evaluating equality in academic employment also is discussed. This article proposes that structural barriers to employment equity for women may not be more significant than direct discrimination.


Published in The Sociological Quarterly 28:3 (1987), pp. 423-435. Copyright 1987 by JAI Press, Inc. Published by Wiley-Blackwell. Used by permission.