Promoting gender equity within a medical, dental, and health sciences faculty

15 February

The university system, like many work sectors, has a problem with gender equity in leadership positions (Bell, 2010). This is a problem not just in Australia, but globally. For instance, a recent survey of 32 Pacific Rim universities, including 4 Australian universities, found that men are significantly more likely to occupy senior management positions than women (Brewer, 2014). There are many reasons for this ongoing gender inequity (Bagihole & White, 2011). It was assumed that gender inequity in higher education was the result of restrictive work practices from the 1960s and 1970s – the pipeline theory. The expectation was that as more women took part in higher education as students, and then took jobs within the sector, the leadership cohort would change to reflect the greater number of women being employed by universities in the 1980s and 1990s. This did not occur – women were persistently being underrepresented in senior positions, and the theory was relabelled the pipeline fallacy (Allen & Castleman, 2001).

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