Today, more women than ever before are active participants in higher education. For example, more than 50% of all undergraduate students are women and the numbers of women graduate, professional, and doctoral-degree recipients and faculty are increasing ("The nation, " 2003). In fact, for the first time, American women have earned more doctorates than American men have (Smallwood, 2003). (1) Given this shifting postsecondary climate, more scholarship by women and about women, as well as an increase in feminist scholarship from previous generations, should be part of the discourse. Thus, the purpose of this article is to investigate the academic literature in the field of higher education, using gender and feminism as lenses due, in part, to the increased presence of women in the academy. By analyzing data collected from three leading journals in higher education, The Journal of Higher Education (JHE), The Review of Higher Education (RHE), and Research in Higher Education (ResHE), I hope to better understand how feminist scholarship and how women are treated in the scholarly work contained in these journals.
To guide my analysis, I will use a feminist framework. I am interested in whether women as a subject of study and as scholars continue to be marginalized in academe because of gender. As a result, this perspective will shape how I view the data that emerge, for I see academe as entrenched in the power of patriarchy. By this, I mean that power is male-centered and, in many cases, women are oppressed in this system. Of course, not all women are equally marginalized in patriarchy. However, the fact that power is male-centered indicates that achievements by women are gained in spite of that male-centered power (i.e., patriarchy) (Johnson, 1997). In addition, since I will be looking at academic scholarship, which is critical to faculty work, I will use professionalization theory to frame my study further. Professionalization theory suggests that the reward structure and the status of the professorate are tightly coupled with producing research for juried publications. Thus, the nature of faculty work is constructed, in part, by the content of the leading journals (Silverman, 1987). The knowledge that is created and proliferated in the leading journals further shapes the subsequent creation of knowledge. Moreover, knowing who and what is published is important to understand better the value of feminism and the treatment of women in one aspect of academic work.
Research by DuBois, Kelly, Kennedy, Korsmeyer, and Robinson (1985) serves as a model for my study. In addition, I will expand upon work by Townsend (1993) to explore higher education scholarship in three core journals of this field. DuBois et al. examined the publication patterns in several disciplines from 1966 through 1980. Their study was intended to capture the nature of scholarly work during the height of Second Wave Feminism. While considerably narrower in scope, my study seeks to extend DuBois et al.'s work by looking at the extent to which feminism and women are featured in current higher education scholarship during the current generation of feminism (specifically, from 1990-2002). The temporal constraint for this analysis is significant because it provides the most recent perspective on the treatment of feminism and women in this field.
In addition, this work expands upon and updates a study by Townsend (1993) that explored the extent to which feminism and scholarship about women are included in higher education journals. Her study took a longitudinal sample of journal articles from the three core higher education journals in the late 1960s, the late 1970s, and the late 1980s. The current study study used the journals identified in Townsend's study but analyzed the scholarship published after her data analysis. This study will also provide insight into the kinds or strands of feminism that shape scholarship, offering a perspective that has not been explored in the higher education literature.
Gender and Feminism in Higher Education Scholarship
The examination of gender and feminism in higher education scholarship is rather limited. However, three studies in particular (Townsend, 1993; Twombly, 1993; Ward & Grant, 1996) have provided a critical background for the current study. Townsend (1993) found through the review of journal article titles in her sample that only 3.9% focused on women or topics germane to women. Among these articles, women were the lead or only author of more than half. Townsend then applied feminist phase theory to categorize the nature of the woman-focused scholarship. Using this framework, she categorized only one article as feminist scholarship. Since Townsend (a) purposively sampled particular time periods for analysis rather than analyzed all articles from 1967 through the late 1980s, (b) only used article titles to determine whether gender is a salient category in higher education scholarship, (c) and only looked at women as authors in the articles she identified as about women, her analysis may underestimate the work about and by women as well as the extent to which higher education scholarship is feminist. However, her analysis gives us an important place to start to understand gender and feminism in the field of higher education, particularly as it relates to a time in history when the women's movement was active.
Twombly (1993) explored scholarship that focused on gender and community colleges from 1970 to 1989. She found that of the 174 articles identified in a variety of publication sources (although predominantly from community college journals), nearly two thirds of the articles were first or sole authored by women. She also found that there were fewer articles related to women in the last 5 years of her data, showing a decreasing interest in these topics as the Second Wave of feminism ebbed. Like Townsend, Twombly then applied feminist phase theory to the woman-centered articles. She classified only 8 articles as either feminist or multifocal scholarship; most articles that were able to be classified (150) fell into the lower stages of feminist phase theory.
Work by Ward and Grant (1996) echoed the findings of Townsend (1993) and Twombly (1993) that research about women is more often written by women. This research goes beyond previous work to explore academic publishing through three stages (prepublication, publication seeking, and postpublication). The authors showed that over time, some improvements have been made with regard to the numbers of women who publish and to the numbers of articles about women, but there may be gender biases that exist at various points in the publication process that negatively influence full participation of women (Ward & Grant, 1996).
Gender and Feminism in Other Disciplinary Discourse
Researchers in economics, community psychology, sociology, archeology, communication, family studies, and business have also conducted studies to understand better the impact of gender and feminism on discipline-based scholarship (Albelda, 1995; Angelique & Culley, 2003; Clemens, Powell, McIlwaine, & Okamoto, 1995; Hays-Gilpin, 2000; Stephen, 2000; Thompson & Walker, 1995; Walters, Fry, & Chaisson, 1990). Walters et al. focused their work on women as authors in business journals. They found that in business, the numbers of women authors have increased over time (1962-1984). When looking at gender as a variable, Clemens et al.'s data showed a relationship between the gender of an author and the author's methodology. Women in sociology tend to publish more qualitative work than men publish, while the quantitative work of men is published more frequently. In economics, community psychology, archeology, communication, and family studies, the researchers focused their studies on feminism in disciplinary scholarship. In all cases, feminist perspectives have slightly increased in the literatures over time. However, feminism is not considered part of the "mainstream" in these disciplines. Rather, feminist perspectives are relegated to separate publication spheres or subdisciplines (Albelda, 1995; Angelique & Culley, 2003; Hays-Gilpin, 2000; Stephen, 2000; Thompson & Walker, 1995).
Overall, the trends in a variety of disciplines and fields are consistent. Women are …