Gender and Status in American Political Science: Who Determines Whether a Scholar is Noteworthy?

Published on Jan 1, 2020in Perspectives on Politics
· DOI :10.1017/S1537592719004985
Karen J. Alter25
Estimated H-index: 25
(NU: Northwestern University),
Jean Clipperton1
Estimated H-index: 1
(NU: Northwestern University)
+ 1 AuthorsLaura Rozier1
Estimated H-index: 1
(NU: Northwestern University)
Who decides notability for American political scientists? This article is part of a larger investigation of the selection and projection of status and notability in American political science, focusing on gender disparities. We focus on three questions: 1) Do institutions within the discipline of political science – including departments, APSA, editorial boards, academic honor societies – reflect or remedy gender disparities that exist in many forms of recognition, including appointments to top leadership and citations? 2) Are institutions with centralized and accountable appointment mechanisms less gender skewed compared to networked and decentralized selection processes where latent bias may go unchecked? 3) Does “leaning in” help? Does publication in top journals and visible leadership in the profession increase the likelihood that higher level status positions will follow, and does it do so equally for men and for women? We find that the distribution of highest status positions is still gender skewed, that women are over-represented in positions that involve more service than prestige, and that ‘leaning in’ by serving as section chair, on editorial boards or on academic councils is not necessarily a gateway to higher status appointments. We also find that accountable appointment processes–namely processes where outcomes are scrutinized by an encompassing institution– generate more gender balanced results, but they can also over-compensate leading women to do more service compared to men. The study raises the question of whether we should expect men to do their proportionate share (70%) of lower level leadership, and/or whether we should encourage male service and promote female leadership by drawing from the pool of lower level status appointments. This posted paper includes all 5 appendixes.
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