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Gender, Race, Age, and National Origin Predict Whether Faculty Assign Female-Authored Readings in Graduate Syllabi

  • Amy Erica Smith (a1), Heidi Hardt (a2), Philippe Meister (a1) and Hannah June Kim (a3)

Abstract

Numerous studies document female scholars’ underrepresentation in political science publications and citations, yet few examine graduate syllabi. In this study, we assess the impact of instructors’ individual characteristics (i.e., race, gender, and age) on which readings they assign. We use what is—to our knowledge—the largest dataset of graduate readings to date: the GRaduate Assignments DataSet (GRADS), with 75,601 readings from 840 syllabi in 94 US PhD programs. We report several findings. First, overall, instructors infrequently assign female-authored scholarship relative to the rates at which women publish. Second, instructors who are women, people of color, and those from more gender-equal countries assign significantly more female-authored readings than white male instructors and those from less gender-equal countries. Third, among women—but not men—older instructors assign more female-authored work. We suggest that women’s underrepresentation on syllabi may contribute to “the leaky pipeline,” which describes women’s attrition from academic careers.

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Copyright

Footnotes

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1.

Hardt and Smith are both Principal Investigators on the external grants for data collection and contributed equally to all research and writing. Replication files are available in Dataverse. A Supplementary Information (SI) document also is available in the online edition. In conducting research with human subjects, the authors complied with relevant laws and received approval from the Institutional Review Boards at Iowa State University and the University of California, Irvine. Support for this research was provided by an American Political Science Association Centennial Grant, a National Science Foundation Political Science and Science of Broadening Participation Grant (Grant Number 1624120), and an Iowa State University College of Liberal Arts and Sciences Seed Grant. This project relied on assistance and feedback from numerous people; see the SI for our long list of acknowledgments.

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References

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