Invisible Barriers, Undeclared Wars: Subtle Resistances to Women's Leadership in Academia

Invisible Barriers, Undeclared Wars: Subtle Resistances to Women's Leadership in Academia

Lina Kurchenko (Kyiv National Economics University Named After Vadym Hetman, Ukraine)
Copyright: © 2022 |Pages: 23
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-7998-7379-2.ch001
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Abstract

Despite the indisputable progress of gender equality in academia in recent decades, the relative stagnancy of women's participation in decision making and resource distribution remains a global issue. There is growing evidence that a large part of gender inequality in higher education and research cannot be explained by explicit measurable factors. Male bias is encoded in societal and academic culture and to a significant extent determines subconscious choices and decisions benefiting men. This chapter analyses cultural reasons behind gender inequality and typifies them in a form of a matrix based on gendered attitudes to women's leadership in academia. The analysis of typical resistances reveals psychological and social mechanisms of subtle gender discrimination and is followed by a set of proposed preventive measures.
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Historical Background

Before dealing with cultural reasons of gender discrimination in academia in the 21st century, we have to shed some light on the historic origins of such inequality. It occurs only natural today that any interested woman without severe mental or material limitations can opt for higher education (HE) and an academic career. However, this situation should not be taken for granted – it results from women’s struggle for the right to receive, produce and share knowledge since the beginning of academia in Europe.

Key Terms in this Chapter

Broken Rung: A relatively new term signifying initial chances for promotion to management in early career stages.

Homosocial Co-Optation: Favoring by established group members candidates with whom they have social features (here: gender) in common.

Sexual Harassment: Unwelcome sex-related conduct, including unwanted attention, sexual or menacing verbal remarks, glances, and gestures.

Male Bias: The tendency to give preference to men over women.

Leadership: Accomplishment of goals by direction and/or motivation of other people.

Gender-based Violence: Continuum of violent behaviors (rape, sexual or physical assault, sexual harassment, emotional abuse etc.) towards a person based on her or his gender.

GGGI: Global Gender Gap Index, designed by the World Economic Forum to measure gender equality in diverse countries.

Queen Bee Syndrome: Regarding by a woman in a position of power female subordinates as less capable and less preferable than male subordinates.

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