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Laurie Cohen and Jo Duberley. “Throw me the ball! Throw me the ball! I can run with it! You pick me, I can make a try!” “And it was great because I went.

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Presentation on theme: "Laurie Cohen and Jo Duberley. “Throw me the ball! Throw me the ball! I can run with it! You pick me, I can make a try!” “And it was great because I went."— Presentation transcript:

1 Laurie Cohen and Jo Duberley

2 “Throw me the ball! Throw me the ball! I can run with it! You pick me, I can make a try!” “And it was great because I went to Australia and the Vice Chancellor threw things at me -–so they used to throw me the ball and see if I could run with it and of course I could, so they gave me more responsibility” What is the 'ball'? Why hasn't she been passed it before? What does it mean to get it now?

3 Background – Women in Science “half a million women in the UK are qualified in either science, engineering or technology (SET) - but less than a third work in those sectors, all of which are suffering a severe skills shortage, set to get worse in the coming decades. This situation is bad for the UK’s productivity and competitiveness. It undermines the UK’s aspirations for fairness and opportunity. It wastes women’s talent and limits their career aspirations, lifetime earnings and economic contribution”. UKRC 2008

4 Background- Women in Science ‘Chilly’ campus environment. Leaky pipeline. Problems of balancing demands of home and family. Gendered nature of academia ‘anchored in assumptions about competence and success that have led to practices and norms constructed around the life experiences of men and around a vision of masculinity as the normal universal requirement of university life’ (Bailyn 2003: 143). the dominant position of masculinity within (UK) academia and the active marginalisation of femininity in everything from the way academic disciplines are constructed through to recruitment and selection processes (Knights and Richards 2003). Wenneras and Wold (1997) show how peer reviewers consistently overestimated male achievements and/or underestimated female performance partially because the women were less likely to be part of the same social network as the reviewers.

5 Career Capital and Competence Competence Knowing why, relating to career motivation, personal meaning and identification; knowing how, relating to career relevant skills and job related knowledge knowing whom competencies relating to career relevant social networks (Defilipi and Arthur 1994)

6 Career Capital and Competence Concept of career capital derived from the work of Pierre Bourdieu. Economic Social Cultural Symbolic Also taking account of Habitus - understood as a frame of thinking, perceiving and acting within career fields Field - a ‘playground or battlefield in which agents, endowed with a certain field relevant capital try to advance their position’

7 The Study In-depth, semi-structured interviews with 47 female scientists All working at university departments and government funded laboratories in the UK. 7 have private sector science experience Age range Post-doctoral researcher to professor Interviews focussed on career to date, experiences of working in science, future career plans

8 The Study social constructionism as concerned with how the world comes to be endowed with meaning, and how these meanings are reproduced, negotiated and transformed through social practice. From a social constructionist perspective a career is not conceptualised as a form or structure that an individual temporarily inhabits, constraining or enabling her in her journey. Rather, it is constituted by the actor herself, in interaction with others, as she moves through time and space. people are part of their own environments, through their actions they contribute to the creation of “the materials that become the constraints and opportunities they face” (1995, p. 31). It is an iterative and on-going process, involving at times the reproduction of existing structures and at times their transformation.

9 Findings – Career capital Domestic capital And I guess my husband’s a scientist so that helps and so you can’t just forget the trivial things. I mean there’s lots of things he could help me out more on, but one thing he always understands is if you’re trying to get a grant application off… you know, if either one of us is doing that then the other has to just take over and do everything and, you know, if I wasn’t living with a scientist, you know, you might not have that. People might not understand why sometimes you have to work later or drop everything for a week until you get this through hurdle. (Claire)

10 Findings – Career capital Science you also have to remember in the area of brain chemistry and neuro-science nothing was known about chemical transmission in the brain when I was an undergraduate, so I mean it’s been an absolute revolution in our knowledge base of the chemistry of the brain and so it was very, very exciting then to think that you could work on trying to define how psycho-active drugs, which were already widely in use in treating mental disorders, how you could find out how they acted on the brain. (Sue) This is a sexy area. This is what you need to do (Emma) So it was oncology. So that’s like sort of cancer research because I thought -they’re always going to want cancer researchers, you know, because obviously cancer’s a big killer. They do a lot of research so therefore there should be future jobs for me. (Jo) There were a lot of women … You know, immunology was a new discipline, there were a lot of women coming through. The majority of our lab were females doing PhDs in the area. A lot of the … not only your peer group, but the people that you were looking to … papers you were reading were very … It was a lot of very strong women sort of in a research position. (Emma)

11 Findings Deficits – The lack of particular forms of capital and the lack of access to that capital To be an academic – you’ve got to be a middle class, white male. You cannot get on. There are virtually no female professors. I think it’s disgraceful. (Jo) There’s this sort of underground network kind of thing that it is a male dominated discipline and has been for centuries and it’s still that way. (Jill) When you apply for, say, the Royal Society Fellowship or NERC Fellowship, there may be several people applying from your department and the Head of Department pretty much has to write a list ranking them in order. So you can do the next best proposal in the world, and if you’re bottom of their list, then … It doesn’t mean they have to stick to that, but it’s not a very great vote of thanks, is it? (Michele)

12 Findings - Deficits There’s no female vice chancellors. There’s nobody in charge who’s on the board who’s a woman who’ll give you a grant. It’s about who you know, not what you know. It’s so political. It is an old boys’ network and I thought “I’m not wasting my time in a treadmill just spending my entire time fighting against it” (Jo)

13 Findings Impediments – The ‘ownership’ of which has a negative impact on careers I can think of a couple of women who have had babies and come back part-time and they have been perceived as not being serious about their work… there’s very much this pressure that you give your heart and soul to the science(Julie) I think since I did make a decision to have a family, I appreciate that I’m probably not going to get there. So I just want to do what I do well. I’d like to move up the career ladder more than I have done so far. I’ve stayed on Lecture 1A scale since I’ve been here, for four years, and I’ve effectively been told by my boss that I’m not going to get promoted or move up while having a young family, which was a comment that rather surprised me! That they were so open about it! (Liz)

14 Accumulated capital I think if you’ve got money you can create kudos and if you’ve got kudos you create success and success begets success and lots of people get given money because of, you know, who they are, not what they’ve done in the last 5 or 10 years (Jo) Yeah. I mean I think certainly for this stage in my career, I mean the university, I suppose, could get rid of me, but, you know, I have got tenure, so, you know, it’s … I’m in a sort of fairly protected position, whereas if you’re a junior academic it … I mean it would be more of a risk, but it would be a risk that if you wanted to take it you should. (Alison)

15 Key issues Different types of capital that don’t fit neatly into the existing frameworks Data draw attention to the issue of deficit – when individuals lack particular forms of capital AND importantly when they lack access to particular forms of capital – turns attention to structural constraint. In addition for different individuals (and in different contexts) the same phenomenon can be at once capital and impediment. A social constructionist approach can help us to see and understand these differences and why career capital must be seen as a social constructs; Data also highlight termporal dimension and the issue of capital accumulation (Bourdieu). In particular interviewees talked about the impact of career stage. Therefore need to recognise career capital as contextually and temporally embedded

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