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Work, family and careers in Australian universities: reviewing barriers to progression for women. International Women’s Day 2014 Gillian Whitehouse Michelle Nesic.

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work family and careers in australian universities reviewing barriers to progression for women

Work, family and careers in Australian universities: reviewing barriers to progression for women

International Women’s Day 2014

Gillian Whitehouse

Michelle Nesic

slide2

Background: recent trends in the gendered composition of university employment in AustraliaFigure 1: Percentage of women by academic level, 2000, 2005, 2010

Source of data: Australian Government Department of Industry, Higher Education Statistics

slide3

Background: recent trends in the gendered composition of university employment in Australia, contd.Figure 2: Percentage of women by HEW level, 2000, 2005, 2010

Source of data: Australian Government Department of Industry, Higher Education Statistics

questions
Questions…
  • What has been driving these changes?
    • broader social trends…?
    • progressive policy environments…?
  • Why isn’t change more extensive? To what extent is parenthood a barrier to change?
    • Does parenthood differ by gender in Australian university employment? (Academic and Non-academic staff)
    • Does parenthood impact on careers differently for men and women? (Using a selection of (a) ‘objective’ and (b) ‘subjective’ measures of career attainment, expectations and experiences as indicators; Academic only at this stage)
    • How is the policy and work/family support environment experienced? (Academic and Non-academic staff)
work and careers in australian universities wcau survey
Work and Careers in Australian Universities (WCAU) survey
  • The WCAU survey was undertaken as part of an ARC Linkage project (LPO991191 ), Gender and Employment Equity: Strategies for Advancement in Australian Universities
    • Partner Organisations: NTEU, UniSuper, Universities Australia
    • Project team at Griffith University and UQ: Glenda Strachan, Gillian Whitehouse, David Peetz, Janis Bailey, Kaye Broadbent
  • National surveys of non-casual academicand general/professional staff, & casual teaching staff, were conducted in late 2011. Response rates and numbers for the surveys reported here are:
    • General/professional staff survey 32% (10,683 useable responses)
    • Academic staff survey 35% (8,391 useable responses)
q1 does parenthood differ by gender in australian university employment
Q1 Does parenthood differ by gender in Australian university employment?

Table 1: Gender and presence of children: academic and non-academic staff in Australian universities, 2011

Table 2: Gender and presence of children by level: academic level and non-academic staff in Australian universities, 2011

Source of data: WCAU Survey, 2011

other potential influences on parenthood academic staff
Other potential influences on parenthood (Academic staff)
  • Age - age profiles of men and women in the dataset are very similar
  • Continuing, fixed-term - highest levels of parenthood among men in continuing positions
  • T&R, RO, TF – levels of, and gender differences in, parenthood are quite similar across these three categories
  • Discipline – gender differences most marked in HASS, least marked in Business and Law (no association with the degree to which disciplines are female dominated)
  • Full-time/part-time – part-time women are considerably more likely than part-time men to be parents, but the reverse situation is evident in (the considerably larger) full-time workforce
  • Logistic regression shows that gender remains a significant influence when other factors are controlled for. After accounting for other potential influences, men in academia were around 1.5 times more likely than their female counterparts to have one or more dependent children under 18 years of age.
q2 a does parenthood impact on careers differently for men and women in academia objective measures
Q2(a) Does parenthood impact on careers differently for men and women in academia? (‘Objective’ measures)
  • Getting to senior levels, i.e. Level D or E (professoriate)
    • Logistic regression on the likelihood of being at Level D or E, examining the effect of gender and parenthood (and the interaction between them), while controlling for:
      • age, years of academic employment in the sector
      • discipline
      • contract (T&R, RO, TF)
      • weekly working hours
    • Associations were found with almost all variables:
      • age and tenure were positively associated with likelihood of being at D or E;
      • likelihood of being at D or E was greater in Science, Medical/Heath and Education disciplines compared with HASS
      • T&R and RO academics were more likely to be at senior levels than TF staff
      • longer hours increased the likelihood of being at D or E
    • Both gender and parental status had significant effects on the likelihood of being at Level D or E, but these were moderated by the interaction between gender and parental status such that having children made almost no difference to men’s likelihood of being at levels D or E, but significantly reduced women’s likelihood of being at those levels.
figure 3 parenthood by gender in senior levels d and e and junior levels a c academic positions
Figure 3: Parenthood by gender in senior (Levels D and E) and junior (Levels A-C) academic positions

Source of data: WCAU Survey, 2011

slide10
Q2(a) Does parenthood impact on careers differently for men and women in academia? (Objective measures) contd...
  • Success in promotion
    • A clear majority of men and women who had applied for promotion in the past five years had been ‘successful’ (defined as success in over 50% of applications at their current or a previous university). Reported rates were somewhat higher for women (than men) and for those with (compared to those without) children.

Source of data: WCAU Survey, 2011

slide11
Q2(b) Does parenthood impact on careers differently for men and women in academia? (‘Subjective’ measures)

Table 4: Five year career aspirations and expectations, male and female academics with children who reported wanting to be at a higher level in five years’ time

Table 5: Career opportunities missed due to caring responsibilities, male and female academics with children

Source of data: WCAU Survey, 2011

slide12
Q3 How is the policy and work/family support environment experienced by academic and non-academic staff?

Table 7: Working shorter hours on an ongoing basis, by gender and academic/professional staff

Source of data: WCAU Survey, 2011

conclusions questions for discussion
Conclusions/ Questions for discussion
    • Are we making good progress, limited progress, or has progress stalled?
    • What are the major ongoing barriers?
  • What can be done to speed up the move towards more gender egalitarian employment in Australian universities?