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Mind the gap: gender disparities still to be addressed in UK Higher Education geography

Maddrell, A. ORCID:, Strauss, K., Thomas, N. J. and Wyse, S. (2016) Mind the gap: gender disparities still to be addressed in UK Higher Education geography. Area, 48 (1). pp. 48-56. ISSN 1475-4762

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To link to this item DOI: 10.1111/area.12223


This paper evidences persistent gender inequalities in UK higher education (HE) geography departments. The two key sources of data used are: Higher Education Statistics Agency (HESA) data for staff and students, which affords a longitudinal response to earlier surveys by McDowell and McDowell and Peake of women in UK university geography departments, and a qualitative survey of the UK HE geography community undertaken in 2010 that sought more roundly to capture respondent reflections on their careers, choices, status and experiences. Findings show that although the gender gap is closing within HE geography in the UK there are significant ongoing gender disparities. Therefore, the paper argues that the long and demanding process of reducing gender inequalities (alongside other, equally vital intersectional inequalities) requires continued commitment. Furthermore, respondents evidence the cost of these inequalities: enablers and barriers to job security and career progression can have long-term impacts on quality of life and financial security, and affect personal life decisions. In recent years the UK-based Athena Swan and Gender Equality Charter Mark agendas have prompted universities to address gendered disparities and the authors note a changing zeitgeist. The survey findings point to the need for sustained leadership within geography departments to address the day-to-day gender – and other – inequalities experienced in the workplace.

Item Type:Article
Divisions:Science > School of Archaeology, Geography and Environmental Science > Department of Geography and Environmental Science
ID Code:70271


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