Report Finds That Black Women Are More Likely Than Black Men, White Men, or White Women to Leave Tenure-Track Positions

A report to be published next month by the National Association for Equal Opportunity in Higher Education finds that black women in the academic world are more likely to leave tenure-track positions — either voluntarily or involuntarily — than black men and more than men and women of other ethnic groups. The data obtained from surveys conducted by the National Science Foundation, shows that black women were twice as likely as men and women in other racial and ethnic groups to voluntarily leave a tenure-track position to take a post as an adjunct faculty member. And black women were less likely than other groups to be retained in tenure-track posts by colleges and universities. Also, black women who received postdoctoral fellowships were more likely than men and women in other ethnic groups to be unemployed at the conclusion of their fellowships.

William A. Darity Jr., an economist at Duke University and one of the authors of the study, told JBHE, “The retention differentials are much, much wider between black and white scholars than they are between black male and black female scholars.” He is convinced that racism in the academy plays a key role in the differentials.