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The University of Southampton
Stefan Cross Centre for Women, Equality and LawNews, Events and Seminars

Seminar Series - Gender Equality in Academia: an interdisciplinary discussion on the REF and precarious contracts Event

16:00 - 17:30
27 February 2019
University of Southampton Highfield Campus Southampton SO17 1BJ

Event details

Dr Emily Yarrow, University of Edinburgh Business School -  REF-A contemporary academic inequality catalyst?
This research investigated gender equality issues surrounding the Research Excellence Framework 2014 (REF2014), and how these may manifest themselves in the career development and career trajectories of female academics in the UK. The potentially harmful effects of research evaluation on academic careers, the way in which research evaluation and its outcomes are managed and experienced, and the extent to which this may intensify academic work were all considered as well as being integral aspects of the interview guides. However, this research also explored, through some of the emergent themes from the interviews, how research evaluation and its outcomes are used as a vehicle for success by some academics. Through exploring new managerialism, gendered academic career trajectories and research evaluation, this research compared and contrasted different Schools in Humanities and Social Sciences in an anonymous UK university, in order to provide contemporary insight into the lived experiences of female academics in the context of REF2014.


Dr Ania Zbyszewska, University of Warwick School of Law - Elite and Precarious? Neoliberal Reforms, Fragmented Solidarities and Resistance among Academic Workers
Academics have in recent years experienced increasing, albeit uneven, erosion in work conditions. In the UK this can be partly attributed to the interplay between structural changes associated with the reforms of higher education and the parallel rise of academic capitalism. With their (neoliberal) emphasis on merit and equalization of opportunities these reforms promised to widen access to ‘elite’ work to a broader range of people in a sector long stratified by gender, race and class. In reality, they have contributed to the overall growth of insecurity, along with polarization of working conditions. The increasing competition within the sector together with (internalized) categorization of academics as independent ethos-driven workers have tended to feed these developments, fragmenting solidarity and undermining resistance. Recent campaigns such as the 2018 pension strike and challenges to university statutory reforms, illustrate that rebuilding a sense of collective interests is necessary to overcome the growth of insecurity and precariousness and challenge enduring inequalities within the sector.

Speaker information

Dr Emily Yarrow,University of Edinburgh ,Business School

Dr Ania Zbyszewska,University of Warwick School of Law ,

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