Women in academia: stories of female university professors in a research-intensive Canadian university
Wednesday, 18 May 2016 | Admin
by Luc Bonneville (University of Ottawa)
Over the last 50 years, numerous studies have shown pre-existing structural inequalities in different types of organisations, demonstrating amongst other things how women are often disadvantaged compared to men. Whether it is with respect to salary or promotions, many authors have shown that women experience more difficulty than men obtaining recognition for their work. That is especially the case in those organisations that are ‘traditionally’ dominated by men, and rest upon values that are specifically masculine. The university – the main subject of this paper – is not immune to this phenomenon, especially for those who choose a career as an academic. Beyond the multiple quantitative studies that have been conducted in that field, testimonies must still be obtained in order to better understand this phenomenon in society. In this paper, we give a voice to women, as university professors, who express the challenges and difficulties that they confront in the context of their university careers. From 2012 to 2013, we conducted a series of interviews (based on the life-story methodology) with female university professors. These semi-directed interviews allowed us to collect multiple testimonies attesting to the constraints and pressures felt by professors on a daily basis.