Suggested Reading

Even in the few weeks since we have started planning this event, we’ve seen an explosion of writing about gender in academic employment, much of it focused on challenges faced by women. For a taste, check out some of the links below:

Some key findings and recommendations from the Royal Historical Society report:

  • While both men and women have caring responsibilities the survey showed a distinct imbalance in primary caring responsibilities, which is predominantly women.
  • On all types of contract 80-90% of respondents said they worked evenings and weekends
  • Across the board respondents showed a lack of awareness about their institutions policies on gender equality.
  • Only 10% of respondents said that their institution had promotion policies that take gender into account.
  • Role models within departments and within the field were not necessarily of the same gender as respondents.
  • University humanities departments should consider signing up to the Gender Equality Charter Mark (GEM) – the equivalent of Athena SWAN awards in STEM subjects- or should use the framework provided to conduct a cultural attitudes survey.
  • The report suggests taking steps to embed a culture of gender equality including thinking carefully about having a quota for female committee members as this might lead to work overload of senior women or to early career women being in roles they aren’t trained for (though it makes no mention of training these early career women to feel more comfortable in those roles)
  • The report highlights that job advertisements are sometimes framed in ways that female candidates will assume they don’t meet the requirements. The language should be changed in adverts to avoid this
  • It emphasises that many women end up stuck at mid-career level positions – to resolve this they suggest clearer discussions about promotion and more advice on planning careers. Greater acceptance of the range of roles women usually perform
  • Many universities have parental/carers’ leave and flexible working policies but these aren’t always known and implemented by line managers and staff.
  • Parental leave from 2015 will be open to men and should be utilised but not regarded as a solution to issues of female leave.
  • The work/life balance of academics can be exacerbated by managers sending emails and organising meetings outside of working hours.
  • The report also suggests offering more advice and information to PhD students about gender in academia.
  • It highlights that conferences, and in particular questions, can be dominated by the most assertive speakers and that steps can be taken to make the process more open and inclusive.
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