Network Access, Participation, and Career Outcomes
(NSF Grant # REC-0529642)
- Julia Melkers, Associate Professor of Public Policy, Georgia
- TechEric Welch, Associate Professor of Public Administration, UIC
The education system in the United States produces and advances substantially fewer women than men in most STEM fields. Under representation of women in the sciences resists explanation in part because the social networks that provide access to resources and direct participation are complex and opaque. This project seeks to open the “black box” of how social and professional networks mediate the conversion of women’s qualifications to career outcomes.
The primary project objective is to address the question: How and why do networks matter for women’s career outcomes in science and engineering? This three-year study applies knowledge from social network theory to explore the architecture and dynamics of formal and informal networks in which women scientists and engineers enter, form, and participate. It addresses the following specific questions:
- What is the relationship between women scientists’ access to and participation in effective
- networks and their resulting productivity, faculty rank, organizational position, salary, and job satisfaction?
- How is the professional advancement of women influenced by their discipline and the characteristics of their networks?
- Which factors lead to the entry of women scientists in both formal and informal networks?
- Is access to networks for male scientists significantly different than for female scientists?
- Which factors predict the active participation of scientists and engineers in both formal and informal networks?
- Does network participation for male scientists significantly differ from that of female scientists?