Objectives. To examine trends in the numbers of women and underrepresented minority (URM) pharmacy faculty members over the last 20 years, and determine factors influencing women faculty members’ pursuit and retention of an academic pharmacy career.
Methods. Twenty-year trends in women and URM pharmacy faculty representation were examined. Women faculty members from 9 public colleges and schools of pharmacy were surveyed regarding demographics, job satisfaction, and their academic pharmacy career, and relationships between demographics and satisfaction were analyzed.
Results. The number of women faculty members more than doubled between 1989 and 2009 (from 20.7% to 45.5%), while the number of URM pharmacy faculty members increased only slightly over the same time period. One hundred fifteen women faculty members completed the survey instrument and indicated they were generally satisfied with their jobs. The academic rank of professor, being a nonpharmacy practice faculty member, being tenured/tenure track, and having children were associated with significantly lower satisfaction with fringe benefits. Women faculty members who were tempted to leave academia for other pharmacy sectors had significantly lower salary satisfaction and overall job satisfaction, and were more likely to indicate their expectations of academia did not match their experiences (p<0.05).
Conclusions. The significant increase in the number of women pharmacy faculty members over the last 20 years may be due to the increased number of female pharmacy graduates and to women faculty members’ satisfaction with their careers. Lessons learned through this multi-institutional study and review may be applicable to initiatives to improve recruitment and retention of URM pharmacy faculty members.