Sixteen years of change for Australian female academics: progress or segmentation?

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Marchant, T & Wallace, M 2013, 'Sixteen years of change for Australian female academics: progress or segmentation?', Australian Universities' Review, vol. 55, no. 2, pp. 60-71.

Article available on Open Access

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Quantitative methods and secondary data informed by critical realism and a feminist standpoint provide a contemporary snapshot of academic gender ratios in Australian universities, along with historical data, for the entire population of interest. The study is set in the context of the well-researched, worldwide gendered nature of higher education and focuses on female academics in teaching due to the teaching-research status divide and systemic changes such as managerialism that bring teaching into the limelight. Findings reveal that women’s overall status continues to improve, albeit slowly. For example, parity in the teaching professoriate may not be achieved until 2033. Apparent gains are patchy in that women tend to be confined to ‘bad’ jobs as casual teachers and males still constitute a large majority of the academic professoriate. Overall, the increasing numbers of women mask segmentation and marginalisation. The pipeline and critical mass theories are useful explanations for this gender imbalance. The main policy recommendation is to create and privilege ongoing, teaching specialist roles.

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