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Gender Inequality in Research and Service amongst Natural Sciences and Engineering Professors in Canada

Jennifer Dengate, Annemieke Farenhorst, Tracey Peter, Tamara Franz-Odendaal


Little is known about gender inequality in Canadian professors’ workloads (e.g., if women perform more service than men). To address this gap, we explore the distribution of research and service work amongst Natural Sciences and Engineering (NSE) professors from the Atlantic and Prairie provinces. We further investigate whether women are disproportionately responsible for activities intended to improve gender equity (e.g., youth recruitment targeting girls to account for women’s underrepresentation in NSE); and ascertain the professional and personal effects of heavy service demands. Statistical analyses of a cross-sectional online workplace experiences survey indicated that men spent significantly more time on research than women, while women spent significantly more time on service than men. Women reported significantly more time spent on professional development and outreach activities than men, specifically. Women’s heavier service load was associated with decreased research productivity, longer terms as assistant professors; and below average salaries, as compared to men of similar rank and experience. Moreover, women’s well-being was negatively affected by heavy service. Accordingly, women’s disproportionate responsibility for service is an obstacle to gender equity in academic NSE in Canada; and suggest that initiatives intended to improve gender equity in NSE may be detracting from women’s research time.


science; engineering; gender; faculty; research; service

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