9th Conference European Sociological Association

RN33 Women's and Gender Studies

2009-09-04 09:00:00 2009-09-04 10:30:00 Friday, 4 September 09:00 - 10:30 Gendered Pathways of Professional Success Building II, C4.01

Women's Participation and Democracy in the University

Participation appears to contain an important message for women, considering the state and democratic discourses underlining the equal capacity of women as a social group to live and construct the polis. Feminist and women' studies stress largely the importance of women's participation. Several meanings are attached to participation in educational and policy studies. First, there is the meaning connected to the presence in terms of access to attend democratic institutions. A second meaning is related to provision of conditions to allow the persons of being able to succeed; hence, participation as the involvement in activities with success. A third meaning of participation is certainly the capacity to occupy posts of leadership and of decision-making, due to her or his merit and profile. Certainly other meanings for participation can be advanced. However, in this paper, the intention is to focus women's participation in the academia in processes of decision-making, in a context where their visible presence as lecturers in universities and other higher educational institutions increases in numbers and qualifications. However, their participation in terms of leadership, representation and the sharing of decision-making is far from being in similar terms. Decision-making and representation posts are in general perceived as male activities. Many would also say that frameworks and styles maintain the male definition of doing the job. Stereotypes are constantly around us, albeit many times they are fought, or reconfigured, or even re-appropriated in new forms that are more open. The data that will be presented will compare the Portuguese data with other European countries, stressing that in fact this points to a problem of democracy. The data has been collected within a financed European project and has recently been reformulated.