Are There Gender Differences in Interruptions of Academic Job Talks?
Are There Gender Differences in Interruptions of Academic Job Talks?Gender in Engineering Departments
Mary Blair-Loy, Laura E. Rogers, Daniela Glaser, Y. L. Anne Wong, Danielle Abraham and Pamela C. Cosman. Soc. Sci. 2017, 6(1), 29; doi:10.3390/socsci6010029.
We use a case study of job talks in five engineering departments to analyze the under-studied area of gendered barriers to finalists for faculty positions. We focus on one segment of the interview day of short-listed candidates invited to campus: the “job talk”, when candidates present their original research to the academic department. We analyze video recordings of 119 job talks across five engineering departments at two Research 1 universities. Specifically, we analyze whether there are differences by gender or by years of post-Ph.D. experience in the number of interruptions, follow-up questions, and total questions that job candidates receive. We find that, compared to men, women receive more follow-up questions and more total questions. Moreover, a higher proportion of women’s talk time is taken up by the audience asking questions. Further, the number of questions is correlated with the job candidate’s statements and actions that reveal he or she is rushing to present their slides and complete the talk. We argue that women candidates face more interruptions and often have less time to bring their talk to a compelling conclusion, which is connected to the phenomenon of “stricter standards” of competence demanded by evaluators of short-listed women applying for a masculine-typed job. We conclude with policy recommendations.
Keywords:gender; STEM; interruptions; job talks; gender bias; faculty hiring; underrepresentation of women; women in science; double standards; stricter standards