Female professors in Denmark and New Zealand: Why the inequality?

By                 Dr Kirsten Locke
                    Faculty of Education and Social Work
                    The University of Auckland

In this seminar Kirsten Locke will discuss a comparative study she is undertaking in Denmark and New Zealand. The research explores the question of why there are significantly fewer female than male professors in these two countries. Both countries have pursued a project of reforming universities. Accompanying these reforms is a masculinity discourse that conceptualises ‘leaders’ as heroic change agents, with the determination, decisiveness and strategic vision to re-shape the institution in light of demands from external stakeholders. At the same time, the universities seek to address the embarrassingly low numbers of women in senior positions using strategies that are clearly marked by various versions of femininity that contradict the masculinity discourse. Initial findings from the Danish phase of the study will be presented. Themes that emerged in this phase include perceptions of leadership, the effects of neoliberal forms of university governance, and the complex challenges women face at different points of their university careers. The second phase of the study will involve senior academic woman at the eight New Zealand universities over February and March 2016. Possible directions for the New Zealand phase of research will be discussed with the audience in the context of women’s experiences in other settings such as Hong Kong.

Date: November 26, 2015 (Thursday)
Time: 1:15 – 3:00pm
Venue: Room 202, Runme Shaw Building, HKU
Discussants: Dr Sarah Aiston & Prof. Nicholas Burbules
Chair: Dr Liz Jackson

Kirsten Locke is a Lecturer in the School of Critical Studies and Associate Dean of Teaching and Learning in the Faculty of Education and Social Work at the University of Auckland, New Zealand. Her research interests include philosophical enquiries into gendered academic career trajectories.

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