ERG SES D 01, Higher Education
The paper points out that the differences in the approach to the implementation of gender equality policies in Polish and Swedish higher education and their impact (or lack of impact) on the position of women in higher education, can be successfully explained based on the sociological theory of structuration, which was created by Anthony Giddens (1984).
Higher education is one of the major socializing institutions. The knowledge produced in higher education institutions affects the functioning of the modern information societies and knowledge-based economy. The education received in higher education institutions has a positive impact on the chances of citizens in the labour market. That is why many countries are trying to level out inequalities within higher education. Swedish gender equality policy, which is often treated as a model by other EU countries, is also taking place in higher education institution. In Poland it is being implemented recently and in much smaller scale. I examine whether Swedish gender equality policy implemented in higher education, is associated with a better situation for women in higher education compared to the situation in Poland. By better situation I understand: a) more female professors; b) less horizontal segregation within higher education institutions; c) more prestigious and financed gender studies.
Despite the fact, that gender equality policy is being implemented in Swedish higher education system in a big scale, areas of gender inequality, both horizontal and vertical, in Poland and Sweden are similar. The paper discusses that this situation may result from the different principles according to which the process of structuration occurs in both compared countries. In Poland agency has bigger significance in creation of social systems, while in Sweden more important is structure. This suggests that gender equality policy in Poland (and other countries where agency is more important) may not necessarily be implemented in the same way in which it has been in Sweden.
Giddens, Anthony (1984), ‘The Constitution of Society. Outline of the Theory of Structuration’, University of California Press, Berkley and Los Angeles 1984.
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