Gender Equality in Academia: Bad News from the Trenches, and Some Possible Solutions

Despite numerous scholarly discussions of gender politics, there is little work on the situation of women within the Academy itself. Several recent reports and the brouhaha surrounding public comments about innate limitations on women’s scientific abilities by the former president of Harvard only highlight the need for those concerned with gender equity to look to their own houses. This article thus considers the issue of gender equality and discrimination within academia. It asks whether gender equity exists in academia, whether female faculty experience discrimination— overt, subtle, or institutional—and what specific recommendations might alleviate existing cultures and practices of discrim- ination. It does so through a narrative analysis of in-depth interviews conducted with 80 women faculty teaching at the University of California at Irvine (UCI), a major Research One (R1) university, from 2002 to 2006.

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