Women Academics Under Crisis: A New Field for Reflexivity

Thursday, July 17, 2014: 6:20 PM
Room: 413
Oral Presentation
Joanna TSIGANOU , Institute of Social Research, National Centre for Social Research, Athens, Greece
Maria THANOPOULOU , National Centre for Social Research - Greece, Athens, Greece

Research data show that the present economic crisis has worsened women’s position in society. New categories of women become vulnerable to the impact of this crisis. To the traditional categories of vulnerable women (migrants, singe-parent families, women victims of domestic violence, unemployed young women etc.) are now added women coming from middle and upper-middle class ladders of society (women entrepreneurs, women of high educational and employment credentials, women owners of big properties etc.). Women belonging to these new categories seem to be threatened by the risk of status degradation and the risk of impoverishment.

            This paper focuses on the impact of crisis on women of high credentials. Such is the case of women academics that work in universities and research centers in Greece, a category of women of hitherto recognized social status and established high position in social hierarchy.

            Our presentation is based on qualitative data coming out of the living experiences of women academics facing the impact of crisis in their professional and personal life. Initial results indicate the gravity of the present economic crisis as it expands also to include women holding highly privileged academic positions in the social hierarchy. Austerity measures have not only diminished the income of academic women but also have enormously affected their living standards and worsened their working conditions. Moreover it is to be noted that the economic crisis seems to have brought into surface latent aspects of social crisis resulting from pre-existing social transformations which in turn also affect academic women’s lives.

Thus our attempt is to develop a reflexive account on the living experiences of women academics as well as to discuss the impact of the present economic crisis on processes of women’s downward social mobility.