Committee on the Status of Women in the Profession

The committee on the status of women in the profession monitors the status of women in the profession at all levels, including faculty members and graduate students. It reports to the membership periodically on its findings, works to advance research on women as well as on issues of particular concern to women, and works closely with other groups like the women's caucus for political science to share information and ideas and to ensure fair and equal treatment of women throughout the profession.

Committee Members:

Term expiring September 8, 2024

  • Marijke Breuning, University of North Texas

Term expiring September 14, 2025

  • Kaitlin Kelly-Thompson, Tufts University
  • Helen Kinsella, University of Minnesota-Twin Cities

Term expiring September 6, 2026

  • Michele Swers, Georgetown University
  • Kostanca Dhima, Georgia State University
  • Brittany Leach, Southern Illinois University-Carbondale

Committee Work:

Additional Resources:

For more information about the committee and its work, contact APSA at info@apsanet.org or 202-483-2512


Workable Solutions to Advancing Women in the Profession Ad Hoc Committee

Committee Members

  • Kristen Monroe, University of California, Irvine, Chair (Krmonroe@uci.edu)
  • Martha Ackelsberg, Smith College
  • Angela Lewis, University of Alabama, Birmingham
  • Donna Shalala, University of Miami
  • Michele Swers, Georgetown University

Committee Charge by Carole Pateman, President, APSA (University of California, Los Angeles)

From the founding of the APSA until the present, women have been significantly underrepresented in political science, particularly in higher status positions and in research universities. Over the past three or four decades there has been a great deal of discussion and exploration of discrimination against women and of obstacles to their advancement in the profession, including hiring practices, chilly climates and pay differentials. In the past far fewer women than men obtained doctoral degrees in political science, but this has been changing for some time. The change has led to a widespread assumption that once there were sufficient numbers of qualified women in the pool of applicants for any position — that is, once there were sufficient numbers of women "in the pipeline" — the problem would gradually be solved.

However, the most recent research shows that the pipeline is not working as expected. A paper in the April 2010 of PS provides the results of an investigation, undertaken on behalf of the Committee on the Status of Women in the Profession, into the pipeline remedy and shows that the faith in this approach is misplaced.

Today, roughly equal numbers of men and women obtain doctoral degrees in political science; in 2006 it was 48% of women and 52% of men. Analysis of quantitative data reinforces findings from qualitative (interview) data that shows that a major problem still exists. In our discipline women comprise just over 40% of faculty and they are concentrated in lower status institutions. They are only 8.2% of full professors, and in the research universities they are only 7.2% of full professors. Moreover women earn less at each grade; overall at research universities they receive 78.2% of men's salaries.

The last sentence of the PS article states that "more focused and systematic policies are required to end discrimination". The goal of the committee is not to collect more data about the position of women in political science but to begin the process of ensuring that such focused and systematic policies are put in place. The committee will be concerned with actual and potential solutions to the problem; it will identify and bring together promising policies that already exist in some universities with suggestions for new policies that offer workable solutions. The package of policies will then be publicized as "best practice" throughout our discipline so that everyone is aware of what can and should be done. The APSA has no enforcement powers, but it does have the power of publicity and the support of women in our profession.

Previous Roundtables or Panels at APSA Annual Meeting:

  • 2022 Panel: Being a Political Scientist in an Era of Political Polarization
  • 2021 Roundtable: Navigating Careers During and After the Pandemic
  • 2019 Roundtable: Interventions to Promote Diversity and Inclusion in the Profession: What Works?
  • 2018 Roundtable: Working Together Across Our Differences
  • 2018 Shortcourse: #MeTooPoliSci Short Course
  • 2017 Panel: Gender in the Journals: Exploring Potential Biases in Editorial Processes
  • 2017 Panel: The Sexual Division of Labor in the Profession