On 23rd November 2021, Barbara Read, PI of the Gendered Journeys project, gave the keynote at the special issue launch for ACCESS: Critical Explorations of Equity in Higher Education. The title of the talk was ‘Precarity and authoring gendered knowledges in the Academy’.
Barbara spoke about challenging higher education structures to tackle precarity in the academic workforce and the gendering of subjects, including STEM as explored in the GJ project. In particular, groups who are already disadvantaged and underrepresented are likely to be in more precarious positions in both education and employment environments. Barbara linked this with whose knowledges are published, valued and visible in these different contexts. STEM disciplines tend to be valued within HE institutions and by governing powers, making these knowledges visible and valued. However, within these fields, there are complex patterns of inequality that must be explored and understood intersectionally. Those in precarious positions within STEM in HE tend to be from underrepresented and disadvantage groups. Therefore, despite the value associated with STEM, these academics and their work are less visible within HE environments, and subsequently struggle to make successful applications to lead projects, progress their careers and move out of precarity. As a topical example of the difference in visibility and valuing of knowledge, in the UK, female and black and minority ethnic academics are much less likely to be approached for comment on the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic in the media. The complex inequalities and disparities in HE need to be approached not only intersectionally – taking into account the impact of race, gender, class among other factors – but also locally, considering country and regional contexts.
ACCESS journal: https://novaojs.newcastle.edu.au/ceehe/index.php/iswp/index
Barbara’s talk: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=r21P3GaHCdA&ab_channelQ