Gender equality in academic governance: Organizational approaches and collective attitudes

Solano Cahuana, Iris Laudith (2023) Gender equality in academic governance: Organizational approaches and collective attitudes. PhD thesis, Budapesti Corvinus Egyetem, Szociológia és Kommunikációtudomány Doktori Iskola. DOI

PDF : (dissertation)
PDF : (draft in English)


In Latin America and the Caribbean region, female presence at governance boards accounts for only thirteen (12.7) percent (Credit Suisse Research Institute, 2021). This dissertation focuses on Colombian public universities, because they have one of the lowest female representations at boards despite being listed as organizations regulated by the national gender quota. Not to mention the notorious mismatch in terms of compliance between official and empirical data. Thus, further assessments were needed to determine the actual state of affairs among these organizations. Also, to inform future organizational practices, the analysis concentrates on cases that have already achieved gender parity. Main Findings • The recurrent designation of women in directive positions that entail supportive rather than leading function reflects an underlying gendered ideology emanating from critical actors in charge of the direct appointment of directive staff. These figures of authority are usually represented by men in U1 as opposed to the state of affairs in U2, which has been historically led by women. • The extended academic and administrative communities of both cases support both policies and non-compulsory gender equality initiatives and actions, but among interviewees (staff members at the directive level) the enactment of equality policies was mainly supported by women. • Findings are a combination of the historical background of the universities, the unintended effects of specific requirements to obtain tenure, potentially biased perceptions of critical actors at the directive level towards female aspirants to directive roles and towards organizational gender policies directive roles. • Gender-differentiated divisions of work and functions persist even inside organizations with high female representation at governance boards. • Women in selected cases do not self-exclude from high responsibility roles, in fact, most of them described a deliberately pursuit of directive roles even at the expense of their household responsibilities. Still, their professional trajectories appear to be more entangled than the trajectories described by the male participants. • In the two observed cases, women’s scarcity at the top of the hierarchy is not truly a matter of inadequacy or lack of interest from female staff members, nor is it a matter of collective rejection towards female leaders – for positions involving public polls. In this sense, the enactment of an organizational gender quota with strong enforcement mechanism, would be an excellent way to make sure that during the next appointment of directive staff, the distribution is more balanced between men and women. But the outcomes would be ever better when combined with other approaches to equality focused exclusively on gender.

Item Type:Thesis (PhD thesis)
Supervisor:Primecz Henriett, Nagy Beáta
ID Code:1269
Date:7 September 2023
Deposited On:18 Jan 2023 14:44
Last Modified:06 Oct 2023 08:55

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