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Dean's Lecture Series Monash University: Women in the Professoriate and the Boys' Club in Australian Universities

  • Menzies Lecture Theatre, H4 20 Chancellors Walk Clayton, VIC, 3800 Australia (map)

Success in academe has a gender component with women internationally at least three times less likely than men to reach the professoriate (professor or associate professor) despite entering the academy in similar proportions to men. Hence, there is substantial wastage of academic talent as women fail to progress through the academic ranks in similar proportions to men. This lack of progression has individual and institutional implications. At the university level, with a substantial proportion of the female academic talent pool underutilised, universities limit their global and national competitiveness.

In this presentation Professor Sue Grieshaber discussed selected data from a five-phase research project that surveyed new female and male professors from 33 universities in Australia (n=520); and undertook focus groups (n=21) and individual interviews (n=8) with women professors. Data were gathered from 2008-2013. Catalysts for and inhibitors of academic career success for new women professors are identified and five career case profiles are presented. The boys’ club was named as an inhibitor of academic success for women through unsolicited open-ended survey responses and in focus groups and individual interviews. Influences of the boys’ club on women’s career advancement, succession planning and research leadership are discussed.