Edited by Mitchell G. Rothstein and Ronald J. Burke
Chapter 16: Learning from Life Experiences: A Study of Female Academic Leaders in Australia
Linley Lord and Susan Vinnicombe There has been an increased representation of women within Australian universities. This is due in part to structural changes in the system and in part to equal opportunity and affirmative action legislation, policy and practices. However, gender equality has not been reached and universities continue to operate as highly gendered organizations (Currie et al., 2002; Eveline, 2004; Fogelberg et al., 1999). For women in academic roles some gains have been made. Their participation rate has risen from one-fifth of all academic staff in the mid-1980s to two-fifths of all academic staff nearly two decades later. Women, however, remain under-represented at senior levels with men accounting for more than 80 per cent of the most senior academic positions in Australian universities (Carrington and Pratt, 2003). Overall women make up 30 per cent of university management positions. Women remain concentrated in discipline areas that are considered traditionally female so that there are both horizontal and vertical gender differences in the academic workforce in Australia (Carrington and Pratt, 2003). During the period 1996 to 2003 the number and proportion of women vice-chancellors in Australia increased from 2 (5 per cent) to 10 (27 per cent) of all vice-chancellors. At the deputy vice-chancellor/pro vicechancellor and dean position level, however, the gains are considerably lower. There were 19 (19 per cent) women in 1996 at these levels and by 2003 there were 27 (21 per cent) (Chesterman et al., 2005). In 2004 only 16 per cent of professors were women...
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