by PhDinHistory | 3/03/2008 11:43:00 PM
Cross-posted at PhDinHistory.

The last time I wrote about this topic, and pointed out that women who had recently earned a bachelors in history were now making more money than their male counterparts, I received the following anonymous comment:

This figure about post-BA salaries is very interesting, since this is NOT the case for women earning PhDs in history, who still make less than their male colleagues in academic jobs. Moreover, as the number of women getting PhDs in history has increased, average salaries for historians in the academy have declined relative to other social science fields (although still higher than other humanities fields). There also seems to be relationship between the sex balance among undergraduate students and prestige/salary levels for faculty who teach them. Basically, the more female students in a field, the lower paid the faculty in that field, both men and women (although the women still earn less than the men).

The author is mistaken about male and female junior faculty in history. According to my analysis of data from the National Study of Postsecondary Faculty (NSOPF), the base salary of female assistant professors of history exceeded that for male assistant professors by nearly $700 in 2003.

The author is right about the decline of history salaries in relation to other fields. Robert B. Townsend at the AHA and I have both written about this.

I don't buy the argument that the feminization of history has hurt faculty salaries in history. Below you will find a chart I put together with data from the NSOPF, the Digest of Education Statistics, and the IPEDS Dataset Cutting Tool. The chart shows that, over the last two decades, the ups and downs in history faculty salaries, as a percentage of the average salary for all fields, has not really followed the gradual decline in the percentage of history faculty and undergraduate history majors who are men.

I have also figured out a few more reasons that may help us to recruit women into our undergraduate programs. This data comes from IPEDS and the Baccalaureate and Beyond Longitudinal Study, as I explained in a previous post.

How likely are college graduates to be employed full-time one year after receiving their bachelors degree? Here are the averages for all majors: men (80.4%), women (73.7%), whites (77.6%), and minorities (73.6%). History is one of just a small handful of fields in the academy where this situation is reversed for both women and minorities. In fact, among history majors, women are 2.2% more likely than men and minorities are 2.7% more likely than whites to be employed full-time one year after graduation.

Men with college degrees almost always report more satisfaction with their jobs than their female counterparts. However, there are a few majors in college that lead to jobs where women report higher satisfaction than the men who graduated in the same field. It turns out that women who majored in history reported being 5% more satisfied with their jobs than men who had graduated with the same degree.

Childcare is another area where women who majored in history reap benefits. The average for all fields is that about 17 percent of recent female college graduates report having a Childcare facility or subsidy made available to them through their work. Among women who recently earned a bachelor degree in history, 23 percent--nearly one in every four--say their employer provides a Childcare facility or subsidy. No other major within the social sciences or humanities delivers better childcare benefits for its recent female graduates.

Let me know what you think about these selling points. And feel free to comment if you history is worse off with more female faculty and majors.

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Blogger Lisa Pease on 3/06/2008 12:24 PM:

I wish history had been better taught when I was in high school. I found history incredibly boring at the time.

If only I knew then what I know now. History is endlessly fascinating. It enables time travel, virtually. I LOVE it.

If I win a chunk of money in the lottery (haha) I would seriously consider going back to school for a PhD. Sadly, my current situation would not allow that.

Btw - not entirely off topic either. I wrote about another woman who claimed a victory that not only isn't hers yet, but doesn't look like it ever will be!

See Consortium News for the story.


Anonymous Anonymous on 7/28/2009 7:47 AM:

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