We Are Feminists: Women in academia

Thank you to Annabelle Jones for this We Are Feminists blog post. This material emerges from her SURE scheme research project (supervised by Dr Emma Moore) exploring the way male and female academics talk about their experiences and thoughts of academia.

Amber Regis

Despite much advancement over the past several decades, the under-representation and visibility of women in the academic workplace still persists to be a problem, especially at senior level and in STEM disciplines (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics). After postgraduate study, few women enter into academic posts compared to men, and even fewer at consecutive career stages [1].

Growing up with my mum working her way through academia, I heard numerous stories of hurdles and problems she continuously had to overcome because of her gender. For a long time, I naively thought she was just being a drama queen, but then I began to realise that these anecdotes were a reflection of much more serious and pervasive issues. There have been several investigations and action plans concerning gender-related issues in academia [2] [3]. In this video podcast I draw on my own research which addresses these issues from a sociolinguistic perspective – observing language (male and female academics’ styles of communication) in relation to its social context (the academic workplace).

I discuss how the relation between gender and the ways in which academics communicate certain things in the workplace could play a vital part in the issues facing women in academia. Communicating academic achievement is an important part of an academic job, from the job application process and networking, to research and grant applications. Because of this, my research and this video podcast focus on looking at the ways in which male and female academics talk about their career achievements. Please note that although the term ‘boasting’ is used in this video podcast, it dissociates from any negative connotations as that is certainly not my message.

[1] http://www.theguardian.com/higher-education-network/2013/jul/05/science-women-representation-university-policy – This is a recent Guardian live chat that discusses the visibility of women in UK science.


[2] http://www.publications.parliament.uk/pa/cm201314/cmselect/cmsctech/701/701.pdf – House of Commons Science and Technology Committee, 2014. Report on the launch of inquiry regarding women in scientific careers.


[3] http://www.shef.ac.uk/polopoly_fs/1.241276!/file/FemaleAcademicProgressionActionPlan2012-2015.pdf.pdf – The University of Sheffield Female Progression Action Plan, 2012-2015.



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