The gender imbalance in the professoriate is a global concern that transcends time and national boundaries. Women now enter academia in similar or sometimes greater proportions than men but are about three times less likely than men to reach the professoriate (e.g., European Commission, 2015; University and College Union, 2012).
One popular explanation for women’s lack of progress through the academic ranks is to conceptualise the career pathway as a pipeline that leaks (Bennett, 2011), has blockages or obstructions (Keohane, 2003), or failures (White, 2005). However, while progression through a pipeline might mirror the traditional career pathway taken by men (Thornton, 2013), it is ill-suited to describe the various non-traditional academic pathways more often taken by women (e.g., Bennett, 2011). The European Commission (2016) critiques the pipeline model as overly simplistic and linear because it “does not take into consideration the many possible interruptions and re-entries [in women’s careers] … [and it does not address] those trajectories that move away from the normative linear career in academia (p. 57).
The purpose of this paper is to explore the career profiles of women professors. The term ‘career profile’ is used, rather than pathway, to avoid any interpretation of women’s careers as linear.
There are three broad types of influences on women’s attainment of the professoriate. First, there is age of doctoral completion. The age a woman undertakes doctoral studies influences her career length and the final career level attained. A doctorate is a stepping-stone to an academic appointment or academic career progression, hence, the earlier the doctorate is obtained, the longer the potential academic career. Late achievement of a doctorate can be career limiting (Baker, 2009): “receiving a doctorate later in life would reduce the probability of reaching the rank of professor by retirement” (p. 32). Second, women’s tenure can be derailed or delayed if they have children while trying to progress their careers (Jacobs & Winslow, 2004).
Second, there are numerous academic progression influences, namely individual influences (e.g., Doherty & Manfredi, 2005), academic work influences (e.g., Thornton, 2013); academic environment influences (e.g., Jackson & O’Callaghan, 2009); resource Influences (e.g., White, Riordan, Özkanli, & Neale, 2015); and social influences in the profession (e.g., Morley, 2013).
Third, there are work and family influences, which are impacted by individual decision-making (Baker, 2009). Women’s career profiles are shaped by their work and family situations and the interactions among these (Clark, 2000). In Work-Family border Theory, Clark (2000) proposes that work and family are two separate domains that have distinctive ways of operating: “‘responsible’ and ‘capable’ were ranked the most important means to achieve desired ends at work, while being ‘loving’ and ‘giving’ were ranked the most important means at home” (p. 754). Due to differences between what is valued at work and at home, there is potential for conflict between the two domains when an individual moves across domains.
The influences of age of doctoral completion, academic progression, and work and family can be catalysts or inhibitors to reaching the professoriate. The identification of various career profiles of women professors should provide insight into how these women managed to capitalise on career catalysts and minimise or circumvent career inhibitors. That is, how they successfully navigated the “rush hour” (European Commission, 2016, p. 17) to simultaneously, satisfy the heavy time demands of work and family. We address this issue by listening to the voices of women who have succeeded in achieving the professorship, where, for the most part, such positions are occupied predominately by men. Our understanding of women’s careers is shaped by theories of masculinities (Connell, 2011), post-feminism (Ringrose, 2013), and neo-liberalism (Martin, 2011).
Baker, M. (2009). Gender, academia and the managerial university. New Zealand Sociology, 24(1), 24-48. Bennett, C. (2011). Beyond the leaky pipeline: Consolidating understanding and incorporating new research about women’s science careers in the UK. Brussels Economic Review, 54(2/3), 149-176. Brinkmann, S. & Kvale, S. (2015). InterViews: Learning the craft of qualitative research interviewing (3rd ed.). Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage. Clark, S. C. (2000). Work/family border theory: A new theory of work/family balance. Human Relations, 53(6), 747-770. doi:10.1177/0018726700536001 Connell, R. (2011). Confronting equality: Gender, knowledge and global change. Cambridge, UK: Polity Press. Diezmann, C., & Grieshaber, S. (2009). Understanding the achievements and aspirations of new women professors: A report to Universities Australia. Brisbane, Australia: Queensland University of Technology. Doherty, L., & Manfredi, S. (2010). Improving women's representation in senior positions in universities. Employee Relations, 32(2), 138-155. European Commission. (2015). She figures 2015: Gender in research and innovation. Brussels, Belgium: Directorate-General for Research and Innovation. Retrieved from https://ec.europa.eu/research/swafs/pdf/pub_gender_equality/she_figures_2015-final.pdf European Commission. (2016). Meta-analysis of gender and science research: Synthesis report. Brussels, Belgium: Directorate-General for Research and Innovation. Retrieved from https://ec.europa.eu/research/swafs/pdf/pub_gender_equality/meta-analysis-of-gender-and-science-research-synthesis-report.pdf Jackson, J. F. L., & O’Callaghan, E. M. (2009). What do we know about glass ceiling effects? A taxonomy and critical review to inform higher education research. Research in Higher Education, 50(5), 460-482. Jacobs, J. A., & Winslow, S. E. (2004). The academic life course, time pressures and gender inequality. Community, Work & Family, 7(2), 143-161. Keohane, N. (2003). Introduction to Report of the steering committee for the women’s initiative at Duke University. Durham, NC: Duke University. Retrieved from www.duke.edu/womens_initiative/report_report.htm. Martin, J. (2011). Education reconfigured: Culture, encounter, and change. New York, NY and London, UK: Routledge. Morley, L. (2013). Women and higher education leadership: Absences and aspirations. London, UK: Leadership Foundation for Higher Education. Retrieved from http://www2.hull.ac.uk/pws4/pdf/LFHE_%20Morley_SP_v3.pdf Ringrose, J. (2013). Postfeminist education? Girls and the sexual politics of schooling. New York, NY and London, UK: Routledge. Thornton, M. (2013). The mirage of merit: Reconstituting the ‘ideal academic’. Australian Feminist Studies, 28(76), 127-143. doi:10.1080/08164649.2013.789584 University and College Union (UCU). (2012, November). The position of women and BME staff in professorial roles in UK. Retrieved from http://www.ucu.org.uk/media/pdf/9/6/The_position_of_women_and_BME_staff_in_professorial_roles_in_UK_HEIs.pdf White, K. (2005). The leaking pipeline: Women postgraduate and early career researchers in Australia. Tertiary Education and Management, 10(3), 227-241. White, K., Riordan, S., Özkanli, O., & Neale, J. (2010). Cross-cultural perspectives of gender and management in universities. South African Journal of Higher Education, 24(4), 646-660.
00. Central Events (Keynotes, EERA-Panel, EERJ Round Table, Invited Sessions)
Network 1. Continuing Professional Development: Learning for Individuals, Leaders, and Organisations
Network 2. Vocational Education and Training (VETNET)
Network 3. Curriculum Innovation
Network 4. Inclusive Education
Network 5. Children and Youth at Risk and Urban Education
Network 6. Open Learning: Media, Environments and Cultures
Network 7. Social Justice and Intercultural Education
Network 8. Research on Health Education
Network 9. Assessment, Evaluation, Testing and Measurement
Network 10. Teacher Education Research
Network 11. Educational Effectiveness and Quality Assurance
Network 12. LISnet - Library and Information Science Network
Network 13. Philosophy of Education
Network 14. Communities, Families and Schooling in Educational Research
Network 15. Research Partnerships in Education
Network 16. ICT in Education and Training
Network 17. Histories of Education
Network 18. Research in Sport Pedagogy
Network 19. Ethnography
Network 20. Research in Innovative Intercultural Learning Environments
Network 22. Research in Higher Education
Network 23. Policy Studies and Politics of Education
Network 24. Mathematics Education Research
Network 25. Research on Children's Rights in Education
Network 26. Educational Leadership
Network 27. Didactics – Learning and Teaching
The programme is updated regularly (each day in the morning)
- Search for keywords and phrases in "Text Search"
- Restrict in which part of the abstracts to search in "Where to search"
- Search for authors and in the respective field.
- For planning your conference attendance you may want to use the conference app, which will be issued some weeks before the conference
- If you are a session chair, best look up your chairing duties in the conference system (Conftool) or the app.