Date of Award

January 2012

Document Type

Open Access Thesis

Degree Name

Medical Doctor (MD)



First Advisor

Lori Post

Subject Area(s)

Gender studies, Medicine, Sociology


Females continue to be significantly outnumbered by their male counterparts in the academic pipeline at the senior ranks. Confounding the problem is the inadequacy of tools used for measurement and analysis of it. A Relative Rate Index (RRI) is a better tool for measuring gender disparities of academic systems than calculating percentages of females in academia. An RRI determines the junctures and scales at which females fall out of the academic track. The RRIs for academic medicine departments at Yale were created using institutional records. Calculations indicate that the fallout for females in academia occurs from assistant to associate professor at a higher rate than associate to full professor in ten of 22 departments, including three that are not evident using only percentage calculations. Thus, RRI is a superior method to percentages in identifying the gender disparities in progression through the academic pipeline.

Integrated and dynamic models enhance the understanding of the system surrounding the advancement of females in academia more so than current linear analyses. Specifically, each factor in the model, when assessed relative to the entire system, gives information that identifies the underlying mechanisms that lead to underrepresentation of females in the academic pipeline. Through content analysis of existing research, working groups, and interviews, a robust model was constructed to illustrate the interdependencies among factors that contribute to females advancing to full professorship in academia. The system dynamics model was subdivided into seven constructs, including abilities, interests, working environment, work-life, hiring process, sexual discrimination, and economics. Each construct individually offers valuable insights into the issue of underrepresentation of females in academia and jointly, they lend themselves well towards developing targeted interventions to increase gender equality in academia.