The Growth of Gig Science and Its Gendered Effects

Monday, 16 July 2018: 18:30
Oral Presentation
Anne KOVALAINEN, University of Turku, Finland
The growth of gig science and its gendered effects

The analyses of existing leaky pipelines in academia list a number of reasons for the diminishing number of women in scientific careers. The reasons for leaving or opting out of academia range from individual factors to factors beyond individual control, such as processes and work place and organizational cultures, to list but a few (e.g. Schiebinger & Klinge, 2013; Schiebinger & Schraudner, 2011). The leaky pipeline in general results in relatively small numbers of women entering those positions in science which emphasize basic research and publications over patents, or allow for long-term commercialization interests in academia. Studies analyzing the reasons for differing positions show that the most common reason for the gender-patenting gap arises from the fact that women do not get to be in charge of research groups that actively work on inventions leading to patents (e.g. Campbell et al., 2013; Whittington, 2011). It is known that gender, human capital, technical background, type of business and the social networks of the entrepreneur importantly shape decision making on invention activities and patenting, and in other, related types of work. One of the key aspects is the discrepancy between the organizational ideal worker and the actual resources of women and men working in the organization. Increasingly though, in the wake of market based higher education activity with stronger competition and overflow in the education system, the metaphor of a pipeline does not accurately portray current neoliberal higher education institutions and R&D policies. This paper focuses attention to the increasing precariousness of the academic careers in science and in research and in the wake of this precariousness also calls for replacing metaphors for the leaky pipeline – metaphor originating from the industrial period of science rise which no longer carries accuracy in describing situation.