Decelerating factors that impact on the career progression of women academics at Stellenbosch University

Williams, Lorryn Glynis (2017-03-15)

Thesis (MA)--Stellenbosch University, 2017.

Thesis

ENGLISH ABSTRACT: In 2014, Stellenbosch University’s (SU’s) Transformation office released an infographic displaying the percentage of women and men at the various academic ranks throughout the university. This display emphasised a clear-cut gender divide: as rank increased from junior lecturer to full professor, the percentage of women in these positions steadily decreases and the percentage of men steadily increases. In an attempt to understand this phenomenon, this thesis aims to investigate gender-related influences on career progression among women academic staff. More specifically, it sets out to determine whether women academic staff at SU experience a lack of career progression and if so, what factors they attribute this to, and how these factors differ in terms of faculty, marital and motherhood status, and highest qualification. This thesis pursues these objectives by following a mixed methods approach which entails both a qualitative study of women working in higher education institutions (HEIs) in the Western Cape, as well as a cross-sectional survey conducted among women academic staff at SU. A theoretical framework is used which attributes differences in career progression between women and men to psychosocial factors, structural features or “deficits” of HEIs, and/or family-related factors. The results show that women academics often refer to structural deficits of HEIs as contributing to their slow career progression. These deficits do not, generally, indicate overt discrimination, but rather that certain assumptions about gender roles, particularly in relation to family responsibilities, are ingrained in the institutional culture of HEIs and that this limits considerably the ability of women to climb the ranks in their institutions.

AFRIKAANSE OPSOMMING: In 2014, het Unversiteit Stellenbosch (US) se Transformasie Kantoor ‘n inligtingsgrafiek uitgereik, wat die persentasie mans en vroue in die verskeie akademiese range oor die universiteit heen uitbeeld. Hierdie uitbeelding het ’n duidelike genderverdeling uitgelig: soos wat rang toeneem vanaf junior lektor to volle professor, neem die persentasie vroue gestadig af, en die persentasie mans gestadig toe. In ʼn poging om hierdie verskynsel te ondersoek, het hierdie tesis ten doel om genderverwante invloede op loopbaanvordering by vroue akademiese personeel te ondersoek. Meer spesifiek, dit is daarop gemik om vas te stel of vroue akademiese personeel by die US ʼn gebrek aan loopbaanvordering ervaar en, indien wel, aan watter fatore hulle dit toeskryf, en hoe hierdie faktire verskil in terme van fakulteit, huweliks- en moederskapstatus, en hoogste kwalifikasie. Hierdie tesis streef hierdie doelwitte na deur ‘n gemengde metodes benadering te volg, wat beide ʼn kwalitatiewe ondersoek behels van vroue werksaam by hoër-onderwys instellings (HOI’s) in die Wes-Kaap, sowel as ʼn kruisseksionele opname uitgevoer onder vroue akademiese personeel by die US. ‘n Teoretiese raamwerk word gebruik, wat verskille in loopbaanvordering tussen vroue en mans toeskryf aan psigososiale faktore, strukturele eienskappe of “gebreke” van HOI’s, en/of gesinsverwante faktore. Die resultate toon dat vroue akademici dikwels na strukturele gebreke van HOI’s verwys as bydraend tot hul stadige loopbaanvordering. Hierdie gebreke dui nie, oor die algemeen, op openlike diskrimasie nie, maar eerder daarop dat sekere aannames oor gender-rolle, in besonder in verband met gesinsverantwoordelikhede, ingewortel is in die institusionele kultuur van HOI’s, en dat dit die vermoë van vroue om die range in hul instellings te bestyg, aansienlik beperk.

Please refer to this item in SUNScholar by using the following persistent URL: http://hdl.handle.net/10019.1/101200
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