Gender equality in institutions of higher education: Diagnosis and action plan for an institution of higher education in the north of Portugal

António, P., Rodrigues, A., Gonçalves, H., Marques, C., & Diniz, F.

Abstract:
In general, higher education institutions seem to have a favourable stand for gender equality. They are key Institutions to social and economic development and have access and promotion criteria based on merit and capabilities. However, studies related to education and equality or inequalities have shown that the assumptions of gender equality in higher education institutions may be using subtle mechanisms of discrimination. This paper aims to carry out a general diagnosis of the status quo in terms of gender policy in an institution of higher education in North Portugal (University of Trás-os-Montes and Alto Douro – UTAD). In methodological terms, this work is based on research methodology of a descriptive character, based on the collection of information obtained from secondary data (relating to students and employees of the university – teaching, non-teaching), from which were applied various statistical techniques (univariate, bivariate and multivariate analysis).With regard to faculty employees, the results point to a clear predominance of males in positions of more power, influence and prestige and a higher concentration of women in lower decision positions. In UTAD, there is a horizontal segregation at the level of employees by department faculty. The males in the departments of Physics and Engineering are predominant and in the departments of Veterinary Science, Genetics and Biotechnology and Mathematics the predominance of females is significant. Regarding the leadership positions of the research centres, there is vertical segregation with predominance of males, which curiously escapes the study areas traditionally feminized, such as those of the social sciences and humanities. Similarly, there is horizontal segregation at the level of non-teaching employees to the extent that men predominate in the career of computer services and women in and technical careers. With regard to the positions of the office services occupied by non-teaching staff, gender inequality exists not in terms of the number of men or women that occupy positions, but at the nature of these positions. The analysis of the student body clearly points to the existence of stereotyped courses in which male students predominate in technological courses and female students in courses related to teaching and education sciences, veterinary medicine, social work and psychology. Based on the diagnosis, a plan of actions was defined as to integrate the principles of equality in UTAD, not only from a formal perspective to ensure no gender discrimination, but rather making use of its privileged role in the creation and transmission of knowledge and its ability to influence the way society in order to achieve real equality between men and women.

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  • António, P., Rodrigues, A., Gonçalves, H., Marques, C., & Diniz, F. (2013). Gender equality in institutions of higher education: Diagnosis and action plan for an institution of higher education in the north of Portugal. International Journal of Teaching and Education, 1(1), 18–51.

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