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Journal of Gender Studies

Deadline: 1 January 2020

Special Issue: Gender Equality in Higher Education and Research

Education is a key instrument leading to empowerment and social change. Universities can be powerful institutions for promoting gender equality and diversity, not only in the higher education context, but in society at large. Nevertheless, albeit the increased access and inclusion of women in higher education over the course of the last decades, gender equality in universities is far from having been achieved. Profound gendered divisions of academic labor and capital continue to exist, as revealed by the persistence of gender imbalances at both the top and the bottom levels of the academic hierarchy; gender pay gaps; gender segregation across academic disciplines as well as activities (e.g., research/teaching/pastoral support); lack of women’s visibility and integration of gender perspectives in teaching and research; and emerging evidence of the extent of sexual harassment and assault on campuses, which until the emergence of the #MeToo movement had been largely silenced and denied.

In tackling gender inequalities in higher education, one mechanism that is being increasingly promoted at different levels (local, regional, national, European, transnational) is the implementation of Gender Equality Plans (GEPs). This type of policy initiative covers a wide range of thematic areas, depending on contextual/institutional factors and assessment of need, such as recruitment, selection and career progression, work-life balance, leadership and decision-making, organizational culture, gender in research and education practice, and gender-related harassment and assault.

The potential of GEPs to generate institutional and cultural change in universities is, however, a contested matter. On the one hand, GEPs can be criticized for their overt instrumental rationale (with the predominance of efficiency arguments over gender justice arguments justifying policy interventions) and also for the predominance of conservative frameworks informing understandings of gender equality and the actions designed to achieve that goal. On the other hand, there is a question of how GEP initiatives can meet the challenges and opportunities that current changes to the higher education sector –marked by corporatization, marketization and globalization- pose to gender equality, as well as the impact of new trends and shifts in the wider social and political climate. Thus, the emergence of new far right movements alongside new feminist movements, new constructions of masculinities and the resurgence of patriarchy, the consolidation of intersectional perspectives on gender inequality and discrimination, and the increased engagement of men in gender equality, (one example being the HeForShe global movement) testify to the increased complexity of environments in which GEPs are being designed and implemented.

We welcome articles presenting either single or comparative case studies on GEP experiences in higher education institutions. We also welcome articles discussing, from a more theoretical feminist perspective, the potential of GEP initiatives to bring about institutional and cultural change. Articles may cover one or more of the following topics: universities as gendered and gendering institutions; leadership interventions on gender equality; opportunities and challenges for gender institutional change; mentoring initiatives; work-life balance; men and masculinities in gender equality work; gender pay-gaps; recruitment, promotion and retention measures; changed management to initiate/accelerate gender equality; role models and networking; sexual harassment and violence; gender in the curriculum and in research; gender segregation in undergraduate and postgraduate courses; student involvement in gender equality and diversity; the institutionalization of gender studies in academia; intersectional approaches to GEP development and implementation and the inclusion of trans individuals. Articles examining policy experiences to advance gender equality in universities in countries of the Global South (or Asia, Africa and Latin America) are particularly encouraged.


Language: en-US

Publisher: tandf

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Editor Information:

Rodrigo Rosa / University Institute of Lisbon (ISCTE-IUL)

Sara Clavero/ Technological University Dublin (TU Dublin)

Giacomo Viggiani/ University of Brescia (UNIBS)

JGS Supporting Editor:

Blu Tirohl

This Special Issue seeks to make a contribution to current academic debates and policy practice on advancing gender equality in higher education institutions through original articles, both theoretical and empirical, that present, analyse, discuss and critique GEP initiatives and experiences from a variety of disciplinary and interdisciplinary perspectives: e.g., gender studies, organisational studies, psychology, sociology, social policy, political science, economics, education, and the law.

Its specific objectives are fourfold: (1) to foster the debate on the consequences of gender policies and programs at the institutional level of higher education and research; (2) to underline the importance of adjusting GEPs to local organizational contexts, as well as the diversity of barriers in GEPs’ implementation; (3) to show both the advantages and limitations of different approaches in tackling gender inequalities in academia; (4) and to explore gender intersections with other variables and the increasingly complex challenges for applied research.

The discussion about the experiences of tackling gender inequality in higher education and research is timely because, while men remain at the centre of power in academia, gender binary systems opposing men and women are being politically challenged as never before by the rights of gender minorities, thus subverting hegemonic gender patterns. Nonetheless, as other forms of oppression and subalternity have emerged and challenged research, the overriding gendered inequality that results from the different normative assignments to men and women should not be underestimated. By assuming that it is through both interactional and institutional practices that gender comes to uphold a social order where women, as well as the feminine, remain subordinate, this Special Issue particularly welcomes approaches that attempt to build bridges between different gender studies’ fields and develop, from a critical standpoint, innovative conceptual tools by drawing on contrasting perspectives – i.e., from social constructionist to poststructuralist approaches, or from classical feminist theory to queer-theory and transgender theory.

Submission Guidelines

Abstracts should be submitted to:

Dr Rodrigo Rosa: no later than 1st January 2020.

The editors will then contact authors from whom they seek full papers. Please note that the invitation to submit a full paper does not guarantee final acceptance.

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