|Gender In/Equality in men wor(l)d’s: Perceptions on the construction of a gender equal and inclusive Portuguese University
|Year of Publication
|Jordão, C, Carvalho, T, Diogo, S, Breda, Z
|3rd International Conference on Gender Research
|16-17 July 2020
|(in)equality, feminist institutional perspective, Gender, higher education, Portugal, universities
Based in a H2020 funded project and on theoretical contributions of the feminist institutional perspective, this paper provides a comparative view between men and women on the identified values, practices and behaviours needed to the institutionalisation and promotion of gender equal and inclusive higher education institutions (HEI). This theoretical perspective grounds our comparative analysis, supported by 22 interviews with institutional key-actors: 15 men and 7 women. Being our sample constituted by both male and female interviewees of a Portuguese university can be seen as an innovative approach due to two complementary reasons. First, Portuguese HEI clearly exemplify women representation in academia, considering their significant presence and rapid growth in HEI: as the system expanded and democratised, it also became more feminised, although women are still underrepresented in top-management and leading positions, contributing to perpetuate the vertical segregation phenomenon. Second, gender issues on (Portuguese) HEI are usually approached by women, with men having a peripheral role. Towards this background, we are interested in understanding how both sexes envisage gender equality in their working place (the academia) and even to depict how men perceive their role in the construction of gender-balanced and inclusive HEI. Data analysis reveals not only differences but also similarities between men and women perceptions of the values, practices and behaviours needed to the institutionalisation and promotion of a gender equal and inclusive institution. There is a common trend to consider universities as gender neutral and to attribute the responsibility for changes to the political, social and/or cultural systems, which results from a common symbolic realm of meaning-making common to women and men. However, it is more common to find women manifesting a more positive perspective to affirmative actions at the university. Thus, one can say that women situation can justify their greater assumption of an agency perspective on institutional change.