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Intersection of patriarchy and globalisation in higher education: uncertain futures Gaby Weiner Lund University 22 May 2014

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Presentation on theme: "Intersection of patriarchy and globalisation in higher education: uncertain futures Gaby Weiner Lund University 22 May 2014"— Presentation transcript:

1 Intersection of patriarchy and globalisation in higher education: uncertain futures Gaby Weiner Lund University 22 May 2014

2 Structure of presentation Sources Higher Education - Trends and patterns - Struggles over gender - Knowledge as power Interventions Concluding points

3 Sources Paper commissioned by British Council (2009)** Review of articles in Journals, especially Gender and Education & Race, Ethnicity and Education Range of research on gender and development Recent work within CHEER, Sussex University ** Gaby Weiner: More Difficult Times Ahead? The Impact of Patriarchy and Globalisation on Gender In/Equality in Higher Education,

4 HE: recent shifts from elite to mass higher education reduction (per capita) in financial resources differential levels of growth in different parts of world increased commodification of knowledge, competition and privatisation increased accountability & quality assurance measures internationalisation of teaching and research increase in mobility of people, knowledge and consumer choice speeded up communications and networking knowledge fundamental to globalisation

5 HE gender patterns: UK academics overall: women 44%, men 56% professors: women 19.1%, men 80.9% senior management: women 28%, men 72% professors: BME, fewer than 1% (n. 85); Asian, 5%; ‘mixed’, 2%, white, 85% Vice-Chancellors (rektors), women17%, men 83%, BME n. 1 pay: women professors paid 17% less than men

6 HE gender patterns: Sweden Strong gender divisions in upper secondary schools Women predominate as undergraduates in HE: 60% women, 40% men (19% from abroad) Proportionally more men embark on ‘third cycle’ programmes: women 49%, men 51% (24% from abroad) Professoriate: -humanities and social sciences, women 43%, men 57% -natural sciences, women 5%, men 95% From Women and Men in Higher Education: Report 2008:48R. Stockholm: Högskolverket

7 HE gender patterns: EU undergraduates: women 55%, men 45% postgraduates: women 59%, men 41% professors: women 18%, men 82%

8 HE patterns: globally Women fewer than 20% full professors Men over-represented in full range of academic positions Predominance of (white) men at senior levels, & parallel absence of, & lower salary levels for, women and minorities Gender divisions in teaching (& labour) practices with: -male-dominated disciplines ‘delivering traditional facts to students in traditional ways’ -female-dominated disciplines using more flexible and diverse modes of teaching & assessment/more affected by work intensification

9 Patriarchy Different meanings at different historical periods: original meaning - rule of the father - adapted by feminism to apply to dominance of men over women. male control over women's reproduction (Firestone, 1970) analytically independent of capitalist or other modes of production (Millett,1971) set of social relations with material base underpinned by system of male hierarchical relations and solidarity (Hartmann,1976) late 20 th century globalised version supports gender equality but simultaneously promotes hegemonic masculine interests and practices (Syabacha, 2006)

10 HE and patriarchy ‘glass ceilings’ ‘ivory basements’ ‘velvet ghettos’ and ‘glass cliffs’ restrict women, often to (new, unrewarding) middle managerial positions gendered construction of academic and managerial success legitimises male leadership styles new modes of research assessment and quality assurance place greater demands on women academics as an occupational group higher levels of work and stress levels for women and minority academics power struggles and tensions between women academics due to masculinised individualisation of the academy

11 HE and patriarchy Visibility of patriarchy: Paternalism promotes specific forms of behaviour and practice leading to harassment (sexual etc.), especially of women students by male tutors and supervisors Sharp distinctions between the public and the private having different impacts on students, e.g. women and minorities with ‘non-standard’ experiences find it harder to negotiate demands of HE Male, Euro-centric bias and cultural insensitivity of university curriculum Impersonality of class- or lecture-room methods favouring transmission modes Power relations confer exaggerated authority on the (white, male) teacher.

12 HE: knowledge as power The case of Women’s Studies The most important university source of teaching about gender inequality Body of research which takes as starting point, women’s interests, knowledge and experience Unique in taking women as main focus of inter- disciplinary research and teaching Contests transmission & non-interaction modes, by e.g. - integrating personal knowledge and experience - encouraging participatory learning, independent critical thinking - promoting greater political awareness & activism among students and staff

13 HE: knowledge as power Women’s Studies criticised as: overtly political giving biased picture of women’s achievements prioritising experiential knowledge over serious scholarship promoting ‘political correctness’ Denigration has negative and demoralising impact on WS students who report university discourses as misrepresenting them and their academic experiences, and turning them into objects of derision

14 HE: knowledge as power Outcomes include: disappearance of WS courses/programmes (in UK) underfunding, under-recruitment of staff, high levels of stress and overwork among staff denial of degree-granting status primary targets for withdrawal of funds and closure at times of financial hardship YET WS, hugely successful in pioneering new forms of knowledge, research methodology and teaching programmes and methods, and in increasing understanding of gender and other forms of equality

15 Interventions Fix the women, e.g. enhance esteem; capacity-building; encourage risk-taking and assertiveness; mentoring; specific programmes on leadership and research Fix the organisation, e.g. gender mainstreaming; institutional transformation; affirmative action, quotas and targets; transparent and standard appointment procedures Fix the knowledge, e.g. identify bias, curriculum development, change in disciplinary cultures

16 Concluding points Patriarchy much in evidence, locally and globally Shifts are occurring in high-status & exclusive traditions, cultures and practices of HE but driven by globalisation and capitalism more than by social movements Some hope in: perceived economic necessity of establishing effective, stable education systems and governance - forcing some level of gender change perceived importance of education for girls and women as a means of ensuring social stability and prosperity impact of feminist activism, research and analysis on knowledge base.

17 Contact details website


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