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Swoboda, Marian J.; Roberts, Audrey J. / Wisconsin women, graduate school, and the professions

Droste, Jean
Chapter 1: Vocational aspirations and job realities: a look at some women receiving Ph. D.'s prior to 1926,   pp. 1-10

Page 7

women who would work for less rather than a scholar who would do original
research and demand a higher salary.52 Although part of the salary differential
dated back to the time of the female seminary when teachers of the seminary
often taught a few years before getting married, its perpetuation in colleges
and universities was effectively discriminatory.
A study done by the United States Office of Education for the academic
year 1927-28 showed that in the land-grant colleges and universities the
centage of women teachers holding the higher academic ranks of dean, pro-
fessor and associate professor was 24.8 percent in contrast with 53.6 percent
for the men. Women holding the same academic rank as men were paid lower
median salaries. Women deans were paid a median salary that was $1,260
less than men; women professors were paid $448 less than men and the sal-
aries of .associate professors was $402 lower. The median salaries of all
women teachers irrespective of rank was approximately one-fourth less or
$860 below that of men.53
At Wisconsin discrimination did not show up in salary differentials, but
unequal promotions (see figure 1). Dr. Leslie Spence felt that at Wisconsin
women had to be twice as good as men to receive the same promotions. She
felt that in some of the departments it was practically impossible to get
yond an instructorship.54 Statistics bear out Spence's opinion. The percentage
of women on the faculty showed little progress in the years from 1890 to
1940. Despite continued concern and the increase of women in departments
such as home economics and physical education, the percentage of women on
the faculty remained virtually the same over a period of fifty years (see
In 1926 a noted author and member of the Board of Regents, Zona Gale,
wrote to Elizabeth Waters, a former Regent, about the advancement of
Wisconsin faculty women. Gale gave her friend a list of some men and
women on the faculty, showing their length of service, their promotions,
their salary. Her list demonstrated that only women in the home economics
department were full professors. She felt "that some of the others notably
Miss Gay, have been here for years without receiving the advancement which
some men have received." Gale recognized that, if their service was
not of a
quality to warrant advancement, promotions should not be given, but she felt
that "in the case of Miss Gay at least we know that this is not true....
Another case in point is that of Miss Annie Pitman whose scholarship and
tainment unquestionably warrant a promotion and there are a number of
others, I believe, of whom this is equally true."55
In the first decades of the twentieth century it was easier for women to
obtain jobs on college faculties than it was a decade or two later. From
to 1935 the use ratio, i.e., the percentage of doctorates used professionally
for at least five years, was quite high for women. The use rate was a little
above 75 percent and compared favorably with that of the men's use rate.
contrast, the use rate for women from 1935 to 1960 declined to 35 percent,
almost half that of men.56 This decline in "use" of educated women
with the shift from the "new women" of post World War I, who had
some social and economic independence along with the franchise, to the
"happy housewife" of the late forties and after.
In the twenties the heroines of the mass circulation women's magazines
were independent career women, but in the forties and fifties the fictional

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