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Dr Virginia Fisher.  “Our struggle today is not to have a female Einstein get appointed as an assistant professor. It is for a woman schlemiel to get.

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Presentation on theme: "Dr Virginia Fisher.  “Our struggle today is not to have a female Einstein get appointed as an assistant professor. It is for a woman schlemiel to get."— Presentation transcript:

1 Dr Virginia Fisher

2  “Our struggle today is not to have a female Einstein get appointed as an assistant professor. It is for a woman schlemiel to get as quickly promoted as a male schlemiel” Bella Abzug 1920-1998 (American civil rights lawyer and politician)

3  Women are 42.3% of the academic workforce & the more senior the grade, the lower the proportion of women.  Only 21.6% of women academics earn over £50,000 pa compared to 78.4% of men.  Women comprise 17.5% of heads of departments & professors & 14.4% of vice chancellors.  Women are less likely to have a high publication record or involve high profile academic activities & less likely to hold a doctorate.  It will be 68 years before 50% of professors are women (Blake & La Valle 2000, ECU 2008, EHRC 2008, Halvorsen 2002)

4  Women comprise 48% of UOW academics.  There is a huge variation across Schools e.g. 76% in SHaW & 58% in SED yet 14% in SEBE & 26% in UWBS (segregation by discipline).  Women constituted only 25% of UOW academic staff submitted to the RAE 2008.  There are 10 female professors (out of 56) = 17.9% (1 has left; 2 are leaving by July 2010).  8 of these 10 have only been appointed since 2005.  35% of UOW academic staff possess a doctorate, of these only 30% are women.

5 1. To increase the proportion of women in the ‘research-active’ group of staff 2. To increase the number of women in the professoriate

6  Data collection: semi structured interviews, focus groups, university documents and statistics  Coverage: all female professors, research-active women across all schools, women who want to be research-active, research managers (mainly male) and other interested parties.  All deans and research managers were invited to contribute- but initially no male deans or male research managers responded (gender is perceived to be about women & not interesting or important enough?)

7  These seem to be very powerful (‘Why should women be given advantages? Women have equality now- it’s their own fault & they have babies!’) Notions of (women’s) greed and rapaciousness reverberate  What about other groups? What about men? (Popular discourse of ‘males in crisis’- particularly in education- a ‘see saw’ analogy)  Consequently it is risky to identify as the category ‘women’- many women felt the need to discursively distance themselves in order to maintain their legitimacy as an academic and professional & this was evident within some of the interviews.

8 1. The current climate of UOW 2. Research careers at UOW 3. Social construction of ‘valid’ knowledge 4. Research as a ‘boys club’ 5. Emotional labour & discretionary time 6. Academic motherhood & family responsibilities

9 “We need to ask what we mean by ‘research’. It has been far too exclusive in terms of topics, research methods and the privileging of particular models and research questions. There is a subtext to the meaning of the word ‘research. Research is seen as a ‘good thing’ without saying exactly what it is” (Female professor)  Exclusive and not inclusive  Topics  Methods/Methodologies  Questions

10  Research institutes: “a policy of retrospective funding will encode and perpetuate any injustices already in the system” (female professor)  Professors: “All the professors in this school are male and there is an imagery of jockstraps. If you go to any of the research meetings, they’re in a little bubble, there’s a men’s club. I find I take the approach of a parent because they banter and say ‘my research (penis?) is bigger and the egos are just........and you do get that in other schools too” (Female AD)  Self confidence: “You have to be that bit stronger & that bit tougher to get an equal chance” (Female research fellow)

11  Identity: “Research is a vocation; it’s not just a job. You cannot indulge in clock watching” (Female research manager) “There is no way I could have published all that I have over the years if I didn’t work weekends” (Female professor)  Emotional labour: “After being a PL for several years and having 4 children I applied to be an associate dean. At the interview I was asked why I had no research. The answer was that I’d been doing all the admin and all the other support stuff. I’d been working silly hours... When I said all this to the Dean, he said, ‘it’s because you’re not being efficient with your job’. I said, no, if I didn’t there’d be so many gaps in the system. No-one thanked me for not doing research. That was a real wakeup call” (Female PL)

12  “If you want to be a researcher you have to do it in your own time and that assumes you have your own time to give”  “You must steal time from sleep”  “To the majority of my (male) academic colleagues the fact that I’m a mother is neither here nor there, it’s best not talked about”  “I have pictures of my kids stuck to my wall but if a male colleague had pictures of his kids he might think that wasn’t sending out any sort of message whatsoever, or maybe that people might think ‘oh bless isn’t he caring’, bonus points definitely. However if a senior manager happened to walk into the office I would be worried that they might see me as someone who is not going to give 100% commitment to the organisation” (Female SL)

13  Identify a member of the senior executive team who will be the ‘gender in research champion’  Outline and publicise what exactly is meant by a ‘UoW academic’  Clarify and support the notion of a ‘research career’ at UoW  Continue the on-going review the role of the UoW professor in its entirety  The establishment and encouragement of formal and informal networking between women researchers  Identify early women researchers with potential and proactively support their career progression  Raise the profile of applied and practitioner focussed research  Time management training for time-poor (women) researchers

14  Blake, M. & La Valle, I. (2000) Who applies for research funding? (The Wellcome Trust: London)  Doherty, L. & Manfredi, S. (2006) ‘Women’s progression to senior positions in English universities’ Employee Relations 28(6) pp553-572  Equality Challenge Unit (2008) Equality in Higher Education: Statistical Report  Equality and Human Rights Commission (2008) ‘Sex and Power’  Goode, J. & Bagilhole, B. (1998) ‘Gendering the Management of Change in Higher Education: A Case Study’ Gender, Work & Organisation 5(3) pp148-163  Halvorsen, E. (2002) ‘Female academics in a knowledge production society’ Higher Education Quarterly 56(4) pp347-359  HEFCE (2009) ‘Selection of staff for inclusion in RAE 2008’  Rees, T. (2005) Keynote address at the 4 th European conference on gender equality in higher education. (Oxford Brookes University, Oxford, September)

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