Gender politics is a longstanding feature of universities’ organizational environment and the broader political climate of higher education is fast moving. Furthermore, since attempts at alleviating gendered inequality are well established (potentially leading to complacency or a feeling of 'job done') and because gender inequality is not freestanding but also relates to other dimensions and sources of inequality (Acker 2007), the analysis and change attempts in relation to gender politics are especially complex. A majority of women undergraduates and lots of women in entry level lecturing posts does not necessarily lead to gender equality in other aspects of higher education. Despite some recent increases in autonomy in public universities in Europe (Estermann & Nokkala 2011), this has been accompanied by changes to governance regimes, the introduction of more external stakeholder into those regimes and the rise of boardism (Veiga et al 2015), managerialism (Deem et al 2007), and leaderism (Reed and O'Reilly 2010) all of which tighten managerial grip and may exacerbate gender politics but can also focus change endeavours on minimal compliance with the law. Furthermore, governments increasingly see higher education as a means of growing the knowledge economy, training graduates for the labour market and stimulating innovation in industry (Collini 2011), not as a source of transmission of national cultures and citizenship (Delanty 2001).
The paper explores two contexts of gender politics in universities; firstly, academic work and careers, including research and teaching, performativity (Pereira 2015) and academic good citizenship (Acker 2004); secondly, leadership and leadership training (Morley 2013). The paper, drawing on country specific data, recent documents/policies and narrative accounts from both authors (eg. Deem 2016), compares how women fare in relation to these three contexts in two countries: Portugal and the UK, what measures have already been taken and what could still be done. There is an assessment of how much progress has been made in the last few years in supporting women’s academic careers in these two contrasting European countries.
Acker, J. (2006). "Inequality Regimes: Gender, Class and Race in Organisations." Gender and Society 20(4): 441-464.
Acker, S. and C. Armenti (2004). "Sleepless in Academia." Gender & Education 16(1): 3-24.
Carvalho, T., and Machado-Taylor, M. d. L. (2010). "Gender and Shifts in Higher Education Managerial Regimes Australian Universities Review, 52(2), 33-42.
Carvalho, T., Machado-Taylor, M. d. L., and Özkanli, Ö. (2012). "Perceptions And Attitudes Of Senior Managers Toward Gender In Academia: A Comparative Study From Portugal And Turkey." Educacao, Sociedade e Culturas, 35, 45-66.
Collini, S. (2012). What are universities for? . London, Penguin.
Deem, R. (2018). "The Gender Politics of Higher Education", in B. Cantwell, H. Coates, and R. King, (eds.), Handbook on the Politics of Higher Education, Cheltenham: Edward Elgar.
Deem, R. (2016). ‘Living with gender in the 21st century university; how do we now effect lasting change?' Centro Interdisciplinar de Estudos de Género (CIEG) Congress and UNIKE 'University Futures' Conference, Copenhagen. Instituto Superior de Ciencias Sociais e Politicas (ISCSP), University of Lisbon, 25th-27th May and UNIKE, School of Education, Aarhus University, Copenhagen, 15th-17th June Unpublished.
Deem, R., S. Hillyard and M. Reed (2007). Knowledge, Higher Education and the New Managerialism: The Changing Management of UK Universities. Oxford, Oxford University Press.
Delanty, G. (2001). Challenging Knowledge: the university in the knowledge society. Buckingham, Open University Press.
Estermann, T., T. Nokkala and M. Steinel (2011). University Autonomy in Europe II: the Scorecard. Brussels, European Universities Association.
Machado-Taylor, M. L., White, K., and Gouveia, O. M. R. (2014). "Job satisfaction of academics: Does gender matter?" Higher Education Policy, 27(3), 363–384.
Morley, L. (2013). Women and Higher Education Leadership: Absences and Aspirations. London, Leadership Foundation for Higher Education.
O'Reilly, D. and M. Reed (2010). "‘Leaderism’: an evolution of managerialism in UK public service reform." Public Administration 88(4): 960–978.
Pereira, M. d. M. (2016b). Power, Knowledge and Feminist Scholarship: an Ethnography of Academia. London Routledge
Veiga, A., A. Magalhães and A. Amaral (2015). From Collegial Governance to Boardism: Reconfiguring Governance in Higher Education. The Palgrave International Handbook of Higher Education Policy and Governance, J. Huisman, H. De Boer, D. Dill and M. Souto-Otero. London Palgrave Macmillan: 398-416.
Rosemary Deem is currently Vice Principal (Teaching Innovation; Equality & Diversity), Dean of the Doctoral School and Professor of Higher Education Management at Royal Holloway (University of London), UK. An Academician of the UK Academy of Social Sciences, Rosemary is a sociologist who has also worked at Bristol, Loughborough, York, the Open and Lancaster Universities and the former North Staffordshire Polytechnic. She was a UK Education Research Assessment Exercise sub-panellist in 1996, 2001 and 2008, is a current member of the European Science Foundation Peer Review College, has twice chaired the British Sociological Association, directed the UK Education Subject Centre ESCAlate from 2001-2004 and was Vice-Chair of the Society for Research into Higher Education from 2007- 2009. Since 2013 she has been co-editor of the international journal Higher Education (Springer). In 2013 she was appointed OBE for services to higher education and social sciences in the Queen’s Birthday Honours List. In July 2015 she became the first woman to chair the UK Council for Graduate Education.
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