Sex, Grades and Power: Gender Violence in African Higher Education

Morley, Louise (2009) Sex, Grades and Power: Gender Violence in African Higher Education. In: CHEER Symposium, Annual SRHE Conference, 14-16 December, Newport, Wales.

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The putative feminisation of higher education has become a global discourse. However, quantitative increases only tell a partial story about women’s participation. In some cases, this is impeded by symbolic violence in quotidian gender relations. Women students’ reporting of sexual harassment has been widespread in our study of widening participation in higher education in Ghana and Tanzania ( The hierarchical power relations within universities appear to have naturalised a sexual contract in which some male academics consider it their right to demand sex for grades. These practices are contributing to social pressures for women students to reflexively minimise their visibility and academic performance, and the construction of negative female learner identities. For example, if women fail, this is seen as evidence of their lack of academic abilities and preparedness for higher education. If they achieve academically, this is attributed to prostitution, and women’s ‘favoured’ position in the gendered academic market.

Item Type: Conference or Workshop Item (Paper)
Schools and Departments: School of Education and Social Work > Education
Depositing User: Louise Morley
Date Deposited: 06 Feb 2012 20:07
Last Modified: 06 Jun 2012 16:37
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