Intellectual Sexism: Gender Differentials in Academics

Tuesday, July 15, 2014: 8:30 PM
Room: 414
Distributed Paper
Dr. V CHANDRASEKHAR , IAS (R), Bangalore,, India
Academics has emerged as a leading profession in India and there is increasing competition for academic positions.  Higher education in India has witnessed phenomenal expansion since 1980s with establishment of large number of State and Central universities, Institutes of advanced studies, and numerous private and deemed universities.  Pay are on par with other prestigious services in public and private sectors, rendering it highly sought after sectors of employment.  It encompasses graded disciplines and positions with differential status, recognition and rewards.  It is hypothesised that, distribution of academic positions and allocation of disciplines could be determined by the social forces and extraneous considerations among which gender is an important variable.  The paper addresses this issue in the context of Indian universities in which the number of women faculty is on the steady rise in the last two decades.  Data collected through interview of 362 women faculty members from 23 South Indian Universities reveals that, gender segregation of academic disciplines and positions are discernible with concentration of women academicians in soft disciplines as well as at lower academic positions. The hard core applied disciplines, being where the faculty could be more visible, receive more research grants, claim consultancy and patents have predominantly male faculty.  Even in terms of cadre composition, the proportion of women faculty decreases with successive higher academic position. Study further reveals that, even among women academicians religion, caste and rural urban background are pertinent in determining the patterns of segregation subjecting women faculty to double discrimination.