November 17, 2016

Update on Gender Equity in Immunology

The Journal of Immunology recently published a paper about the percentage of women in Immunology faculty positions.  Here are the facts from the paper and some Michigan-specific statistics:

They looked at the representation of women in Immunology in 2001 vs. 2016 at 27 institutions.

The take home message was that in 2001 women represented 21.4% of the faculty whereas in 2016 they represented 29.1%, so there was a small improvement over the 15 year span towards parity.


The breakdown of women in various ranks in 2016 in the survey was:

39.6% Assistant Professors

31.8% Associate Professors

22.3% Full Professors

37.2% Research Track


Since Michigan was not one of the schools in the survey, I thought you might like some current UM data for our program faculty and alumni

Counting two new faculty that have recently been accepted to our program that are not yet on our website, the Immunology program has 18 women out of 56 total faculty members for a percentage of 32% (better than the 29.1% noted across all institutions in the survey, but with lots of room for improvement).


For proportions in rank

6/9 Assistant Professors are women=66%

5/12 Associate Professors are women=41%

6/32 Full Professors are women=19%

1/3 Research track faculty are women=33%


Perhaps a more relevant stat is the percentage of our alumni that are women.  36/60 Immunology degrees that we have conferred as of November, 2016 (60%) are to women.


The data are interesting to consider in several ways and are similar to national trends in other biological sciences.  Clearly the percentages of women on faculty do not necessarily mirror the percentages of trainees.  This means that in Immunology, there is not a pipeline problem.  Second, the percentages of women in the upper faculty ranks are much lower than at the early faculty ranks.  There have been a lot of reasons suggested for this, but it is clear in our own faculty as well.


It is important to know where we stand.  It should motivate us all to do everything in our power to see that our students receive training to be competitive for whatever positions they wish to pursue in the future, and that we all work as collaboratively as possible to see that all of our faculty move up the faculty ranks!