Academic Careers and the Gender Gap
Although women have made great strides in the world of academia over the past four decades, they still occupy a relatively small number of the coveted top rung of university positions.
In Academic Careers and the Gender Gap, Maureen Baker explains the reasons behind this inequality, drawing on interviews with male and female scholars, previous research, and her own thirty-eight-year academic career. Using a feminist political economy and interpretive theoretical framework, she shows that gender inequality still affects countless female academics throughout Canada, the United States, Australia, New Zealand, and the United Kingdom. Although women in these countries earn nearly half of all new PhDs, Baker argues that current university priorities, collegial relations, and gendered families impede women’s ascension to more prestigious positions and keep them clustered in the junior ranks.
Tracing the evolution of university hiring practices alongside shifting family dynamics and the personal and professional ambitions of academics, Baker sets academia in the wider context of restructuring labour markets and gendered earning patterns within families. The result is a revealing portrait of significant and persistent differences in job security, institutional affiliation, working hours, rank, salary, job satisfaction, collegial networks, and career length between male and female scholars.
Academic Careers and the Gender Gap will appeal to aspiring and established academics in a variety of fields, particularly sociology and gender studies, and will also be of interest to education policy makers.
Academic Careers and the Gender Gap is an original study that offers valuable new insights on the gendering of academic work, especially with respect to the changing nature of the university context and the academic profession. A particular strength lies in the rich qualitative data that sheds valuable light on ongoing debates in the sociology of gender, work, and family.
Maureen Baker argues that despite the progress made in improving women’s career chances in academia, women still come second to men on a range of indicators. Her ambitious book is an unusual and welcome exercise in comparative sociology and higher education, featuring Canada and New Zealand, where she has conducted original research, but set in a wider context of Australia, the UK, and the USA. This study by a leading sociologist has strong policy implications and should appeal to academics, doctoral students, administrators, and managers working in universities.
Maureen Baker is a professor of sociology at the University of Auckland in New Zealand.
Preface and Acknowledgments
1 Setting the Scene
2 Gendered Patterns of Education, Work, and Family Life
3 University Restructuring and Global Markets
4 Social Capital and Gendered Responses to University Practices
5 Gendered Families and the Motherhood Penalty
6 Subjectivities and the Gender Gap
7 Explaining the Academic Gender Gap
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