Pyramider och pipelines Om högskolesystemets påverkan på jämställdhet i högskolan
Sammanfattning: Research on gender equality in Swedish higher education shows an unequal gender balance. Women are consistently underrepresented at the highest levels of the academic hierarchy. The lack of gender equality in academia has been illustrated by metaphors such as a narrowing pyramid, a leaky pipeline and a black hole. Unlike other problems in the academic context, gender inequality in higher education is seldom considered from a system perspective. The system of higher education has undergone major changes during the 1990s in terms of scope (more students, more faculty, more institutions, etc.), differentiation (inclusion of new disciplines) and geographical distribution (establishing institutions in previously unserviced areas). In this thesis, theoretical expectations concerning the effect of these changes on gender equality are developed.The thesis investigates gender equality in higher education by developing an analytical framework to analyze the system level and its impact on gender equality. The empirical data consists of two sets. The first set contains cross-sectional data on registered students, doctoral entrants, doctors, post-doctoral fellows, lecturers and professors in Swedish higher education. The second set is derived from the longitudinal integration database for health insurance and labor market studies (LISA), which consists of anonymized data on all individuals in the Swedish labor market that hold doctoral degrees.The main finding of the thesis is that the system of higher education does have an impact on the gender equality in higher education. The vertical gender balance has increased during the expansion of Swedish higher education during the 1990s. The horizontal gender balance has also increased, but the increase is limited to the student category. On the other hand, the system of higher education has not had an impact on the gender equality measured in terms of exits from academia. Instead, the analysis shows that the rate of men that leave academia is higher than the rate of women, and that commonly used metaphors portraying academia as a narrowing pyramid, a leaky pipeline or a black hole serve poorly as illustrations of the gender equality in academia.
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