Academia and the Reproduction of Unequal Opportunities for Women


  • Barbara Bagilhole


women, academia, policies


Despite the introduction of equal opportunities (EO) policies by many UK universities, academic staff continue to be male dominated, particularly at the higher levels and in the more prestigious universities. This paper draws on data from a qualitative research study undertaken in a pre-1992 UK university. The main aim of the study was to measure the effectiveness of its EO policies for women. It uses Ball’s (1993) idea of problematising policies by looking at their ‘underlife’ in their ‘localised complexity’. The paper argues that distinctive aspects of academia produce and reproduce gender inequality. These aspects include: professional autonomy, an isolationist culture, and lack of good management. It is concluded that pre-1992 universities in the UK prove to be sites, which are particularly resistant to the change demanded by EO policies because of the special conditions of academia.


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Research Papers



How to Cite

Bagilhole, B. (2002) “Academia and the Reproduction of Unequal Opportunities for Women”, Science & Technology Studies, 15(1), pp. 46–60. doi: 10.23987/sts.55150.