Tuesday, 2 April 2013

Gender and Getting Ahead in Academia



  1. Hello, all the advice I did not get at the right time.
    (1) Moved countries at the end of a PhD(which thus involves a significant learning curve in my chosen area of public policy), took a research fellow-type job to work for (good) people who were not really interested in academic publishing. I had(and have) a backlog of writing from previous roles that I could not get to finish and get out to journals due to new demands.
    (2) Got heavily involved in teaching and administration and became known for excellent delivery, top-notch programme organising skills, and willingness to help other people out! You know what happened next.
    (3) Received poor advice about where and when to publish and then when I got some good advice it was too late, possibly.
    (4) Had a child at 40, during at the beginning of a 5 year probationary period at a top university. Nuff said.
    (5) Child had health problems.
    (6) Institution I worked for under review and then deleted. Literally.
    (7) Work in interdisciplinary field such that it's difficult to place articles in traditional journals. Great piece of work came out in non-ranked journal and I was told 'wow, that really should have come out in a highly ranked journal'. But no one advised me at the outset and I had a lot to learn.
    (8) Some personal health problems based on all of the above. No wonder.
    (9) Left said institution as organisation no longer interested in my area. Could have morphed myself into something else, but love my field.
    I love academia...and I am very good at what I do, but will I be able to get back in to a lecturer/senior lecturer role? Perhaps post REF there will be some changes. Once institutions realize they have hired an army of mercenaries leaving for the next best offer, with all the salaries having been pushed up!
    Lessons learned....

  2. Yes, it is a profession which often has perverse incentives to publish research at the expense of teaching (although not all Universities are the same). It is also a profession with high barriers to entry and unusually high barriers to re-entry following any sort of break that takes you away from publishing. I'm not sure I should comment on mercenaries - maybe I will be increasingly seen as one.

  3. Well, will my articles or my son be more important in the long-run? Anyways, there are many ways to skin the proverbial cat. I'm determined and I will get there in the end.
    Interestingly, the majority of the successful female academics I know have no children or are gay. You might want to add this to your advice.....

  4. Very interesting blog. You've put the frighteners on me. I'll be fine with just my masters.

  5. Give me strength... I have a reasonably good article that is now about to be submitted to a fourth journal. The first two tries were playing the game pretty much - and failed (but that was the pressure to be seen to be submitting to the 'right' journals), the third was definitely dispiriting and hopefully we will get it right this time although I am not convinced. I would be okay with lesser ranked journals but my senior colleague(second author) wants to try again. I really do not think we will be successful without major re-writing. What do I do? I just want to get it out there. I have recently decided to put everything I've ever written, and there is a fair amount, out on academia.edu, google scholar and the SSRN. I am getting a lot of hits and getting people looking at the work is better than having it on a shelf. To the previous responder, you really need a calling from a higher power to go in to academia these days, or a banker's mentality (sorry Professor!) Had I known what I know now, I might not have. Then again, what other profession can you be paid to learn, and that's what I was after.

  6. Fyi, reblogged here: http://psawomenpolitics.wordpress.com/2013/04/08/academic-becomes-first-muslim-woman-mp-in-australia-good-looks-shouldnt-matter-but-they-do/


  7. Wanted to let you know I've reblogged this at the Women and Politics page. http://wp.me/cXu2

    Best, K.

  8. Hi, just an fyi that I've reblogged this on the Women and Politics page. http://psawomenpolitics.wordpress.com/

    Best, Kristi