Women in Higher Education: The Challenge Remains, Who Wears the “Pants”

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This research was initially done across disciplines and across faculties in one faith-based higher education institution in Australia, to discover the challenges and opportunities faced by women in the higher education sector. It was then expanded to see if these issues were different for those working in secular institutions, as well as other faith-based institutions. A replicated study, it also compares results to a study completed at Rhodes University in South Africa. The results were similar across all institutions. Women are still facing three major issues in the higher education sector: namely, lack of self-esteem, attempting (unsuccessfully) to create life/work balance, and continued hurdles presented by stereotypical gender roles. The present research adds to that of the past by confirming that there are still workplace barriers in place; however, there is a positive view that unconscious biases are changing, and that no longer are lifelong careers only reserved for males in higher education. Although workplace experiences for women are changing, it is proposed that a future vision for women in the higher education workforce should contain formal and informal mentoring as well as role modelling and use of Women’s groups to support and promote women in higher education, thus creating a greater convergence of gender opportunities.

Unconscious Bias, Life/work balance, self-esteem, Women in Higher Education

Barnes, L., Northcote, M., Rickett, C., Lounsbury, L., Arasaratnam-Smith, L. A., Josey, K., & Obers, N. (2020). Women in higher education: The challenge remains, who wears the "pants". Universal Journal of Educational Research, 8(12), 6885 - 6892. doi: 10.13189/ujer.2020.081254.

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