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Business School - Research Office
Oxford Brookes Business School
Location: Clerici, CLC.G.14, Headington Campus
This article argues that gender equality programmes in universities and colleges may operate as a form of ‘moderate feminism’, producing contradictions through simultaneously providing a site of resistance and complicity for feminists. Our argument draws on a critical and empirical analysis of the Athena SWAN (Scientific Women's Academic Network) charter mark, which originated in the UK. We argue that Athena SWAN is a product of neoliberalization within the UK's academic environments, reflecting the tendency towards accountability, metrics and the performative ‘doing’ of equality work within this context. We problematize the operationalization and implementation of Athena SWAN processes in departments and universities, describing contradictions and caveats. Athena SWAN can lead to benefits and (limited) achievements in terms of culture change and institutional initiatives. However, the burden of undertaking this work predominantly falls upon women and other marginalized groups, such as people of colour and lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) people. Equality programmes such as Athena SWAN are often poorly designed to address complex issues, such as intersectional identities and discrimination experienced by self‐assessment team members. Nevertheless, we identify potential in utilizing Athena SWAN as a site of resistance and means to foster collective solidarity to work against neoliberal practices.
Mobility has been seen as the hallmark of the European Higher Education Area with student and graduate mobility being promoted and facilitated through the Bologna process. This paper follows the experiences of 12 U.K.-educated mobile graduates of British and other European Union (EU) nationality and analyses both their skills gained by studying at a U.K. higher education institution and the obstacles they experienced to transfer their U.K. qualification to a different country. We demonstrate that graduates not only developed – as part of their course and within the opportunities that the U.K. higher education environment offers – but also used various skills ranging from subject-specific to language and generic skills in their current activities. While a U.K. degree is reputable and well known in other European countries, there seem to be limitations in relation to its transferability and recognition for studying and working beyond the U.K., which contribute to unequal treatment in the local labour market between domestic- and foreign-educated graduates. More than a decade after the inception of the Bologna process and the introduction of tools to facilitate mobility, structural barriers still exist which prevent the smooth recognition of skills and qualifications of mobile students and graduates within the EU. This has implications for further study and employment outcomes for mobile graduates but also for mobility decisions before and after higher education.
The number of dual career couples in academia is growing due to the increasing proportion of women with a doctoral degree and the greater propensity of women to choose another academic as their partner. At the same time, international mobility is required for career advancement in academia, creating challenges for dual career couples where both partners pursue careers. This paper has two objectives: (a) to raise the increasingly important issue of dual career couples in academia and the gendered effect that the pressure for mobility has on career advancement and work–life interference; and (b) to present examples of recently established dual career services of higher education institutions in Germany, Denmark and Switzerland, responding to the needs of the growing population of dual career couples. Due to long established practices of dual career services in the USA, the European examples will be compared with US practices. This paper raises the significance of considering dual career couples in institutional policies that aim for an internationally excellent and diversified academic workforce. It will appraise dual career services according to whether they reinforce or address gender inequalities and provide recommendations to higher education institutions interested in developing services and programmes for dual career couples.