Women in higher education: issues and challenges for part time scientists

Donovan, Claire; Hodgson, Barbara; Scanlon, Eileen and Whitelegg, Elizabeth (2005). Women in higher education: issues and challenges for part time scientists. Women's Studies International Forum, 28(2-3) pp. 247–258.

DOI: https://doi.org/10.1016/j.wsif.2005.04.011


This paper reports on the experience of some women who work part-time as Associate Lecturers (ALs) in Science or Technology at the UK Open University (OU), a unique higher education institution. Using data from questionnaires and on-line focus group discussions, we explore aspects of these women’s careers in HE science teaching. This study, the Associate Lecturers in Science (ALiS) project, was undertaken as a contribution to the UK’s Athena Project, a national drive to improve the recruitment, retention and progress of women in science, engineering and technology in Higher Education. It was also part of a wider study of women’s careers in science. We explore the women’s response to the flexible employment patterns enabled by part-time working in this context and their view of the development opportunities they have experienced. This paper summarises some of the project’s findings and demonstrates how the OU, due to its flexible employment patterns, by restoring women’s confidence in their abilities and by actively developing women’s careers in HE succeeds in being a major employer of women in science and technology teaching at HE level.

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