Policies that allow for pauses in the tenure clock have been discussed as a potential solution to the gender disparities observed in faculty promotion, such as those which have become more evident during the pandemic. But what evidence do we have that these policies produce desirable outcomes? A 2018 study using aggregated economics department data revealed that adoption of gender-neutral tenure clock stopping policies actually led to a decrease of 19% in women faculty obtaining tenure, while men obtaining tenure increased by 17%. These results “imply that gender-neutral tenure clock stopping policies do not adequately account for the true gender-specific productivity losses associated with having children,” thereby actually worsening the problem they are attempting to fix. It behooves us to examine whether our own university policies are adequately designed to correct the imbalances and achieve their desired outcomes.
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