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Essay Question: In What Ways Does Gender Shape The Nature Of Universities In Australia. How Does It Shape Your Experience Of University Study? References Included.

1186 words - 5 pages

ESSAY QUESTION:In what ways does gender shape the nature of Universities in Australia. How does it shape your experience of university study?Gender is a very influential factor in the way Australian Universities are shaped. Some of the factors contributing to an institute becoming gendered include the idea that an academic is often imagined as a male figure. Gender is also important when examining university staff: the number of men compared to women and the level of qualification between the sexes. Also important is the number of students attending university, the areas of study undertaken and the and level of this study. This gendering is also obvious to me through my own experiences as a first year university student.The majority of people in society would generally imagine an academic as male, in the same way that a policeman or a scientist would be imagined as a man, because these have traditionally been male roles. It indicates that men have traditionally had more power within Universities. This is an idea which should be changing as more and more women enter positions of power and high status. The following comment was made by a female sociology lecturer: "Thirteen years of teaching in universities has at last disclosed to me the secret that there is no second sex in academe. There is only one sex: male."(McDowell & Pringle, pg 106). This can also lead to another gender issue, that information at a university can be gendered. As knowledge is not neutral, any information produced from a gendered institution is also likely to be gendered.Staff at universities around Australia and particularly in Tasmania are predominantly male. So it could be said that if male staff dominate, then the information taught at these universities could be to some extent gendered."Organisational - and university - cultures are said to be 'masculine' in that employment terms and conditions, policies, practices and reward structures historically have been organised around the cluster of characteristics, attributes and background circumstances of men". (Burton, 1998, website)The management of the University of Tasmania is predominantly male, however women dominate in the traditionally female administration and secretarial roles. According to university statistics, "the proportion of women amongst Academic Staff has been fairly steady from 1995-1999. The greatest percentage of women is in positions below lecturer" (Utas website). In 1999 only 28% of all academic staff at the University of Tasmania were women (38% Arts, 18% Science & Eng, 31% Health, 54% Education, 25% Law). Of these five faculties only Education was dominated by female academics, and even then women only dominate by 4% - so rather than domination, it is more of an equality between the sexes. It is even more interesting to examine what level of academia these women have achieved. At the highest level (D and above) only 9% of academics were female, with the majority of these being in the Health...

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