33 SES 09 A, Gender: Inclusion and exclusion
In a context of strong internationalisation of academic institutions and careers, autonomisation of universities, massive expansion of student numbers and international competition among courses and researchers, the deployment of a new managerialist culture and the pursuit of “excellence” aims at quantifying and formalising scientific quality. Therefore, since the turn of the century, the structuring of academic careers in Switzerland (as elsewhere) has undergone rapid and important changes which have mainly reshaped the early stages (PhD and postdoc).
As assessed by the SNSF a postdoctoral bubble has been created in Switzerland. This situation has lead to an increased precariousness at the beginning of the careers (up to PhD + 15-20 years). While the problematic of equality between men and women has also arisen in this context, universities and faculties define it in different ways that relate to the different challenges they meet in the process of vertical and horizontal segregation. This situation makes the opening of the black box of recruitment procedures especially interesting, as no one would ever says he/she is not favourable to equality while the figures reach the same conclusion in different national contexts: women are far less numerous than men in top academic positions (see for example the “She Figures” reports).
Drawing from the work of the European GARCIA project (Gendering the Academy and Research: combating Career Instability and Asymmetries – FP7), this communication will focus on the present Swiss situation, analysing the case of the French speaking university involved in GARCIA. It will present the formal criteria of careers appointments and the actual “art of appointing researchers” at different steps of their careers and in two different types of disciplines (SHS and STEM) (Garcia_WP4; Garcia_WP10; Fassa, 2016) .
Focus groups and interviews with members of appointment committee (mostly in tenured positions) showed that this art is quite difficult as it is inspired by the ideal of a “well-rounded academic” colleague, whose profile varies throughout the career’s steps. More surprisingly, they also show that the image of an “outstanding/excellent” researcher that is promoted by the Swiss National Science Foundation career support instruments (Ambizione; SNSF Professorship) is not totally shared by committee members who therefore refer to some kind of “subjective” criteria when they have to decide who is the best choice in the shortlist. Thus, and despite their said willingness to apply gender neutral criteria, interstices formed between formal and actual criteria to appoint someone. Depending on the gender consciousness and on the recruitment committee dynamics, gender could be done or undone in these interstices: on one side stereotypes have room to express themselfes and on the other side, formal criteria, –such as bibliometric, H-index or the amount of funds raised– are not all that favourable to women.
Focus groups and interviews with members of appointment committee (mostly in tenured positions)
Results show that the image of an “outstanding/excellent” researcher that is promoted by the Swiss National Science Foundation career support instruments (Ambizione; SNSF Professorship) is not totally shared by committee members who therefore refer to some kind of “subjective” criteria when they have to decide who is the best choice in the shortlist
“She Figures” -https://ec.europa.eu/research/swafs/pdf/pub_gender_equality/she_figures_2015-final.pdf Garcia_WP4 (2016). Sanja Cukut Krilić and Elisa Rapetti, Mapping organisational work-life policies and practices GARCIA_WP10. (2016)Channah Herschberg, Yvonne Benschop and Marieke van den Brink. Gender practices ￼in the Construction of Excellence Fassa, F., 2016. Politiques d’égalité des chances dans les universités suisses. Bilan provisoire d’un pilotage décentralisé. In R. Rogers & P. Molinier, eds. Les femmes dans le monde académique. Perspectives comparatives. France: Presses universitaires de Rennes, pp. 167–179.
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