Being in the academy:a cross generational conversation

Woodward, Kath and Woodward, Sophie (2012). Being in the academy:a cross generational conversation. Equality, Diversity and Inclusion: An International Journal, 31(5/6) pp. 435–451.




This article builds upon the methodological and intellectual approach taken in our co-authored book Why Feminism Matters to explore some of the synergies and disconnections in the experience of being in the academy at different historical moments which range from the 1970s to the present. We use the interrelationship between different feminisms in the context of our lived experiences as a mother and daughter whose experience of the academy has crossed, in the language of waves that of second wave feminism into third wave. It also bridges the mainstreaming of women’s studies in many universities, and claims of post feminism. By focusing upon trajectories of change both within the specificities of our own lived experience and the wider terrain of social change, albeit often marked more by continuities than transformation, we examine the particularities of life in higher education in the different roles than we have performed and which we each still have. There have been significant demographic, cultural and legislative shifts, for example within the culture and practice of equal opportunities, but our conversations demonstrate the endurance of imbalances of power and the continuing need for a feminist politics of difference which can engage with contemporary life in the academy with its intersecting axes of inequality.

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