Research Topic

Critical perspectives on gender equality policies and practices for staff in higher education

About this Research Topic

This Research Topic of Frontiers in Sociology will map current evidence-based research and perspectives on initiatives that promote gender equity, to evaluate feasible future directions. Research and higher education institutions implement gender equality policies and practices with varying levels of ...

This Research Topic of Frontiers in Sociology will map current evidence-based research and perspectives on initiatives that promote gender equity, to evaluate feasible future directions. Research and higher education institutions implement gender equality policies and practices with varying levels of success. Gender mainstreaming and gender equality plans (GEPs) have been normalised in some contexts as policies are developed as vehicles for change. The European Commission has mandated that institutions applying to the Horizon Europe research and development programme have GEPs in place (European Commission, 2020); the National Institute for Health Research and Patient Safety Research Centre funding was linked to Athena SWAN accreditation. The body that convenes the research Councils in UK (UKRI), though not requiring Athena SWAN awards for access to funding, has stated that it expects those in receipt of Research Council funding to embed equality and diversity in aspects of research practice (UKRI, 2020). Other approaches recognise that what is not measured is rarely implemented, and even more rarely sustained, so include gender equity within quality assurance evaluation (Verge, 2019).

However, in many contexts discourses informing policy frameworks have shifted from equal opportunities and gender equity as a social justice imperative, to a ‘managing diversity’ focus which is promoted as better for business and in the national economic interest; and from widespread acceptance of societal support and collectivist alliance to individualism and responsibilisation. It is also known that cuts in gender equality structures occur during times of economic downturn and corresponding austerity (Briskin, 2014).

We therefore invite research and position papers that discuss effective gender equity policy, current gender equity policy manoeuvres, and the impact of COVID-19 on gender equity policy frameworks.

The key questions to be addressed in this Research Topic include:
- What novel institutional, national, and international initiatives support gender equity in the academy?
- What intersectional approaches to developing effective gender equity policy have been adopted?
- What impact have managing diversity and responsibilisation discourses had on gender equity policy in universities?
- What gender equity policy manoeuvres have occurred/are occurring post-COVID-19, and what are their likely impacts?

We encourage the submission of papers that consider these issues in relation to all staff groups in higher education (including academics and professional, technical, and support staff).


Keywords: gender equality policies, higher education, gender equity, policy framework, academy, COVID-19


Important Note: All contributions to this Research Topic must be within the scope of the section and journal to which they are submitted, as defined in their mission statements. Frontiers reserves the right to guide an out-of-scope manuscript to a more suitable section or journal at any stage of peer review.

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Submission Deadlines

15 July 2021 Manuscript

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Manuscripts can be submitted to this Research Topic via the following journals:

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Topic Editors

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Submission Deadlines

15 July 2021 Manuscript

Participating Journals

Manuscripts can be submitted to this Research Topic via the following journals:

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