New Managerialism and Austerity in Academia: Risks on Gender Equality

Wednesday, 18 July 2018: 16:06
Oral Presentation
Ester CONESA CARPINTERO, Universitat Oberta de Catalunya, Spain
Ana M. GONZÁLEZ RAMOS, Universitat Oberta de Catalunya, Spain
Agnès VAYREDA, Universitat Oberta de Catalunya, Spain
Beatriz REVELLES, Universitat de Barcelona, Spain
Changes in academic institutions towards neo-liberal logics are increasingly been applied either at public, semi-private or private Higher Education Institutions. In order to achieve greater efficiency, efficacy and excellence, new managerialism (Deem, 1998) has implied more pressures and intensification of demands in academics in order to compete in an international level for high impact publications and for funding, as well as the high mobility. Moreover, austerity measures due to the crisis have affected the conditions under which academics work as well as increased labour uncertainty and high competition for funding.

In this study we have examined formal documents (laws, human resources policies, expert reports) and analysed semi-structured interviews in Spanish academic institutions, under a gender perspective. We have analysed, as well, the evolution of the faculty in Spanish public universities in the last ten years.

The results show that labour rights fulfilled in a collective way in organizations are becoming reduced under new-managerial human resources strategies, which translate private managerial practices into public institutions. Universities rationalize costs and do not take responsibility on the careers and promotion. According to international mobility dynamics and meritocratic focus, institutions ‘expulse’ science and technology workers. This creates great pressures on academics searching for high research productivity which unbalances teaching commitments. Austerity measures exacerbate this tendency because stable positions have been frozen during many years.

The academic entrepreneurial model do not support the advancement of women researchers. It intensifies a competitive environment that reproduces hegemonic masculine values and dispels some women from academia (at least, make progression harder to them). Thus, our questions contemplate not only the risks for knowledge and education of students but also risks for women inclusion due to neo-liberal HEI model, what questions the role of social responsibility of academic institutions.