The Chronicle of Higher Education recently highlighted research by Jennifer Jacquet and Jevin D. West on the gender gap in various academic disciplines. Using JSTOR data, they estimated the proportion of research articles men wrote in each field. While authors don’t provide their sex as part of the abstract, first names are often strong clues, so they were able to impute the likely sex of the author based on the Social Security name files.
According to the West and Jacquet data, the proportion of female authors in sociology grew from 27% in the 1970s and 1980s to 42% in the 1990s and 2000s. In comparison, economics went from 6% female to 14% and political science went from around 10% female to 19%. The authors also provide some interesting statistics on subfields, although the categories don’t always match up to the specialties sociologists are familiar with (e.g. while “social movements” is listed as a subfield, the authors list “problem of agency” as the largest area of interest within it.)
Since I already have similar data from Web of Science, I thought it would be interesting to run the same sort of analysis to look at the gender gap within and between US sociological journals. For this purpose, I defined a sociological journal as one where a majority of the authors who provided a department affiliation were associated with a department that had sociology as part of the title (e.g. “Department of Sociology” or “Department of Sociology and Criminal Justice”) and where the journal has significant editorial presence in the United States. This totals 49 journals. Web of Science provides the full name of authors in the download files only for articles published since 2008 (weird, right?), so I only examined articles published since then. For each article author, I looked up whether the first name was primarily (>80%) associated with baby boy or girl names for children in the Social Security data for those born between 1945 and 1970. This process classified the vast majority of authors who provided first names, but a larger number of people provided only a first initial, thwarting simple classification. I combined these two types of cases into one “ambiguous” category.
In the table below, I sort the journals based on the percentage of authors who are female. I also list the number of gender ambiguous authors, but they aren’t part of the denominator. The totals are based on the number of times a name appears, so a person who writes three articles for the same journal contributes to the totals three times.
|Gender & Society||26||155||25||85.6%|
|Journal of Marriage & Family||265||543||175||67.2%|
|Sociology of Health & Illness||266||418||84||61.1%|
|Journal of Health & Social Behavior||133||201||36||60.2%|
|Work & Occupations||46||54||18||54%|
|Journal of Contemporary Ethnography||77||86||14||52.8%|
|Sociology of Education||73||69||22||48.6%|
|Population Research & Policy Review||181||153||79||45.8%|
|Social Science Research||421||346||166||45.1%|
|Punishment & Society||73||55||33||43%|
|International Migration Review||143||103||51||41.9%|
|Annual Review of Sociology||95||68||22||41.7%|
|Social Psychology Quarterly||79||50||22||38.8%|
|American Sociological Review||212||123||65||36.7%|
|City & Community||72||40||17||35.7%|
|American Journal of Sociology||193||105||44||35.2%|
|Sociology of Religion||74||36||15||32.7%|
|Journal For the Scientific Study of Religion||259||113||61||30.4%|
|Review of Religious Research||165||63||31||27.6%|
|Theory & Society||86||32||28||27.1%|
|Sociological Methods & Research||117||38||45||24.5%|
|Journal of Mathematical Sociology||58||16||20||21.6%|
Overall, 14% of names can’t be easily categorized. Of those that can be categorized, 45% are female names and 55% are male names. [Update: 53% of ASA members are female.] Journals dealing explicitly with gender issues have the highest proportion of female authorship, while methods and theory journals have the highest concentration of male authors. All four of the top general interest research journals have lower rates of female authorship than the population as a whole, but there is significant variation within the group, ranging from AJS with 35% of female authors to 43% for Social Problems. In contrast, the lower visibility general interest journals, such as Sociological Perspective and Sociological Inquiry, all have higher rates of female participation.
[Update: Philip Cohen published one of his great blog posts on gender segregation in sociology. Make sure to visit the comments on that thread.]
Additional analysis, available from the first author, shows no gender gap in who gets to be first author when men and women co-publish. This analysis will perhaps get its own post, as this null finding is substantively interesting.