22 SES 07 F JS, Gender Issues in Higher Education
Joint Paper Session NW 22 and NW 27
This paper explores the issue of sexual violence in higher education, focusing primarily on research findings that highlight gaps in institutional knowledge about, perceptions of, and initiatives to address sexual violence. The paper draws on data from two major research projects; one representing the first of its kind in the UK, and the second, an EU project involving 6 partner countries. Both projects encompass an investigation of university staff perceptions and understandings of gender-based harassment and violence, with a view to informing future educational initiatives.
Higher education practices: individualism, evaluation and denigration.
The increasing commercialisation of higher education (Burke and Crozier, 2014), as expressed inter alia, by an increased focus on widening participation and diversification of the student body to illustrate institutional value has been linked to concerns about gender and ethnic equality, as well as developing the global citizen. The performative framework in which higher education now operates extends to concerns with social justice, such that the performance of ‘excellent inclusivity’ can now be measured through student (and other) data.
In a market-oriented higher education climate, where ‘excellence’, ‘competition’ and ‘employability’ are core values, universities might be seen to be contributing to the development of more individualistic learner identities. Linked to increasing neo-liberalisation and consumerism in higher education is the reaffirmation of gendered, classed and racialised hierarchies, in which some people are viewed as more ‘able’ to pursue and claim success and others’ seeming lack of ability is constructed as a matter of individual will/failure rather than as shaped by social, cultural, political and economic inequality. Phipps and Young (2015) have also argued that neo-liberal ‘rationalities’ in higher education foster an individualistic, competitive, and even adversarial culture (ibid. p305) that may also be linked to the degradation of certain groups of students, seen not to fit the mould of the desirable (white, male) ‘citizen’.
Phipps (2016) has recently linked the neo-liberalisation of higher education to institutional cultures that are generative of structural and interpersonal violences. Cultures of higher education have been described by students and staff as hostile’, (NUS, 2012) where people are continuously evaluating each other in different types of ‘markets. These are educational markets, institutional markets, and sexual markets. Rather than constituting spaces for radical change and challenge to traditional hierarchies of power and knowledge, universities are becoming characterised as spaces in which we are exposed for not complying with managerialist targets for success. This culture of evaluation and targets can be read as reinforcing gendered power relations.
Violence against women in higher education
Violence against women and girls is a key area of feminist research and is increasingly recognised as a pertinent global issue for higher education institutions. In the US, sexual violence on university campuses has been the subject of ongoing national and international attention, with particular scrutiny of violent, homophobic and racist initiation practices and activities initiated by campus fraternity societies and sports teams (Armstrong and Hamilton, 2015). In the UK, several studies have investigated the prevalence of sexual harassment and violence towards university students, perpetrated by fellow students and by staff. Sexual harassment, violence and abuse are reported to be widespread experiences for women students in particular (NUS, 2010, 2012, 2014).
Ahmed, S. (2015). Sexism – A Problem with a Name. New formations: a journal of culture/theory/politics, 86, 5-13. Armstrong, E.A. and Hamilton, L.T. (2015). Paying for the Party: How College Maintains Inequality. Harvard University Press. Burke, J.P. and Crozier, G. (2014). Higher Education Pedagogies: Gendered Formations, Mis/Recognition and Emotions. Journal of Research in Gender Studies, 4(2), 52-67. National Union of Students (2010). Hidden Marks. London: National Union of Students. National Union of Students. (2013). That’s what she said. A study of women students’ experiences of harassment and sexual violence. London: National Union of Students. National Union of Students. (2014). Lad culture and sexism on campus: August-September 2014. London: National Union of Students. Phipps, A. and Young, I. (2015). Neoliberalisation and ‘lad cultures’ in higher education. Sociology, 49(2), 305-322. Phipps, A. (2016). Reckoning Up: an institutional economy of sexual harassment and violence. (https://genderate.wordpress.com/2016/06/22/reckoning-up/) Universities UK. (2016). Changing the Culture: Report of the Universities UK Taskforce examining violence against women, harassment and hate crime affecting university students. Universities UK. Westmarland, N. (2017). Independent Review into The University of Sussex’s Response to Domestic Violence. Documentation.
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
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