Authors: Jill Blackmore and Naarah Sawers, 2015
Comment: This 3 year ARC funded study researched higher echelons of management in three self-identified “entrpreneurial’ Australian universities. They identified gender “subtexts” in the restructuring of universities to meet global markets rather than a national focus, with emphases on science and technology in research, management and obsession with rankings. Despite better gender equality overall, more women are in casual positions with difficulties reaching tenured and leadership positions.
Deputy Vice Chancellor and Pro Vice Chancellor positions have proliferated in response to the global, corporatised university landscape [Scott, G., S. Bell, H. Coates, and L. Grebennikov. 2010. “Australian Higher Education Leaders in Times of Change: The Role of Pro Vice Chancellor and Deputy Vice Chancellor.” Journal of Higher Education Policy and Management 32 (4): 401–418]. Senior leadership is the sphere where academic and management identities are negotiated and values around the role of the university are decided. This paper examines the changing and gendered nature of the senior leadership setting and its implications for diversity in and of university leadership. The analysis draws from a three-year empirical study funded by the Australian Research Council on leadership in Australian universities. It focuses on executive leaders in three universities – one which is research-intensive, the second, in a regional site, and the third, university of technology. The article argues that the university landscape and its management systems are being restructured in gendered ways. It utilises the notion of organisational gender subtexts to make explicit how gender works through structural and cultural reform.