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Edited by Kate Hutchings and Snejina Michailova
Chapter 16: Reducing the academic gender gap? Institutional support for women's university careers in the liberal states
Over the past four decades, women's representation among new doctorates, university-based academics, and tertiary-sector managers has increased dramatically in all the liberal states or Anglo countries. When I became a doctoral student in 1972, all of the permanent academics in my Canadian sociology department were men, and only one was Canadian born, with most from the US or Britain. This suggests that both gender and international mobility were important for academic careers at that time. My aspiration was to become a university professor but I had no female role models or mentors. Consequently, I decided to interview academic women for my doctoral research in order to investigate their work-related experiences in male-dominated departments. At the time, nearly all university departments were dominated by male academics, with male managers at the intermediate and senior levels (Aisenberg and Harrington, 1988; Bernard, 1964; Brooks, 1997; Epstein, 1971). After receiving a doctorate and working as a university teacher and researcher for many years in Canada and briefly in Australia, I became Professor and Head of Sociology at the University of Auckland in New Zealand in 1998. At the time, I was told that I was the first female (full) professor/department head in sociology in that country, which surprised me as a majority of sociology students were women and I thought that gender relations had improved.
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