Mathias Wullum Nielsen

New and Persistent Gender Equality Challenges in Academia

According to the latest European data, female university students outnumber their male fellows by almost sixty to forty percent and, on average, obtain better grades. However, the steady increase in the share of women pursuing a university education over the last three decades has not entailed a proportional female representation in the upper ranks of academia. This raises fundamental questions about the universities’ ability and willingness to attract and retain the increasing pool of female candidates for a research career.

The dissertation adopts a pluralist methodology, using Aarhus University in Denmark as a case to explore the contemporary gender equality challenges in academia. Drawing on a wide range of both qualitative and quantitative approaches, including document analysis, qualitative interviews, survey data, organisational statistics and bibliometrics, the dissertation deepens our understanding of the complex myriad of impediments that slow down women’s advancement in academia and keep them from gaining the same organisational status and opportunities as their male colleagues. Furthermore, it illuminates how issues of gender equality are reconstituted in a rapidly changing academic context characterized by increasing demands for international competitiveness, innovation, flexibility and accountability.

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