Becoming and being senior female academics in Ghanaian public universities

Adu, Obaapanin Oforiwaa (2020) Becoming and being senior female academics in Ghanaian public universities. Doctoral thesis (EdD), University of Sussex.

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Abstract

This research addresses three fundamental questions about the under-representation of
females in the academy and their consequences within Ghanaian public universities.
The questions are: i) How do senior female academics explain the under
representation of women in Ghanaian public universities? ii) How do the senior
female academics account for their career progression within Ghanaian public
universities? iii) What are the key challenges in being a senior female academic in
Ghanaian public universities? In addressing these questions in this research, I
employed qualitative research methods to elicit information from 9 senior female
academics within three public Ghanaian universities. A multiple case study design
was adopted to provide a wider set of contexts in which to explore the research
questions. Using a post-colonial and a socio-cultural theoretical lens, the research
explores the experiences of senior female academics by analyzing their perspectives
on under-representation of females and their experiences of career progression within
public universities in Ghana.
The analysis of the data discussed in chapter five illustrates that becoming a senior
female academic in a Ghanaian public university is a struggle replete with gender
tensions and misogyny. The process is rooted in traditional Ghanaian practices and
colonial vestiges in education and gender that ensured the academy is male-
dominated. The discussion in chapter six produced knowledge that being a senior
female academic ushers them into a field where their numerical invisibility places
them into two disadvantageous positions that are mutually-reinforcing. First, due to
their restricted numbers and gender representation requirements, the senior female
academics served on multiple committees. The time taken on these duties left them
both ineffective in other realms of academic work and unable to support the
development of junior colleagues. Second, the senior female academics were seen as
gender representatives rather than professors expressing opinions in their own right.
Contrary to views that characterized female academics as beneficiaries of affirmative
actions and irrespective of tokenistic policies, the senior female academics attained
and maintained their positions through hard work, private networking and
collaborations as well as transgressions of traditional gender boundaries, institutional
misogyny and male-dominance.
The thesis proposed by this research is that becoming and being a senior female
academic is a persistent struggle. Further, neither the efforts at career progression nor
the accomplishment of professorial status have significant influence on the traditional
normative social positioning of women within HEIs. As such, it is evident that
national policy and institutional practices need to consider how they might
accommodate and promote females. It raises questions about how institutions might
develop policy frameworks and strategies to support the career progression of
females. In this respect, the experiences of senior female academics explored in this
thesis can offer valuable insights.

Item Type: Thesis (Doctoral)
Schools and Departments: School of Education and Social Work > Education
Subjects: L Education > LC Special aspects of education > LC0065 Social aspects of education > LC0189 Educational sociology > LC0212.9 Sex differences in education
L Education > LG Individual institutions (Asia. Africa. Oceania) > LG401 Africa > LG480 West Africa > LG497 Ghana
Depositing User: Library Cataloguing
Date Deposited: 15 Jun 2020 14:19
Last Modified: 19 Jul 2022 12:26
URI: http://sro.sussex.ac.uk/id/eprint/91914

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