Academic journal article Economics & Sociology

Gender Equality and Its Implementation in Universities of Lithuania

Academic journal article Economics & Sociology

Gender Equality and Its Implementation in Universities of Lithuania

Article excerpt

Introduction

Non-recognition of gender mainstreaming in science increases the negative impact on the quality of research, research policy, and the use of scientific results in practical economic and social life (LYMOS, 2012, p. 197). It is clear that scientific researches in this field are necessary. Despite the fact that gender equality issue is one of the most popular topics within sociological researches, situation in Lithuanian universities is rarely an object of such studies. This leads to the novelty of the topic aiming to reveal the current situation and to evaluate the actual status of women in academia. The research purpose is to investigate the structure of administrative staff and academic positions by gender in both public and private universities of the Republic of Lithuania. While the research objectives are to determine whether vertical segregation prevails in the structure of academic positions and administration staff of Lithuanian higher education and science as well as to identify the main factors affecting it. In addition, it is planned to reveal the differences in gender representation comparing public and private universities personnel data. The research methodology: combination of theoretical and empirical methods was chosen. The method for empirical data collection is survey. The article consists of three sections starting with substantiation of necessity to ensure the gender balance in higher education and science, then proceeding with identifying the research methodology and analysis of the survey results. Practical implications - the results of the survey held in Lithuanian universities show the asymmetric gender distribution and vertical segregation within Lithuanian higher education system. Women dominate at the lowest administrative and research levels while men prevail at the highest levels. This conclusions lead to the need for further scientific researches in this field in order to provide validated recommendations on introduction of gender balance in Lithuanian universities.

1. Equal Opportunities of Women and Men in the field of Higher Education and Science

Despite of prevailing understanding of gender equality as one very important value and principle in contemporary world, still men and women take different roles in the field of Higher education and science. Over 40 years ago, nearly 5,000 American and Canadian children were asked to draw a picture of a scientist, and only 28 children (0.6%) depicted a woman scientist (Miller et al., 2014). Can we expect significant changes in gender roles stereotypes today?

During last decades gender equality idea was widely promoted in all areas. It became one of the European Union's public policy principles. Following the strategy of Gender Mainstreaming, gender equality shall be incorporated in all policies at all levels and at all stages (Council of Europe, 1998), including all fields of academia and research. The necessity to seek the equality between women and men includes arguments related with the need to implement in general fairness, democracy and credibility, as well as research relevance and quality. Only equal participation of both genders can ensure sufficient diversity and secure the heterogeneously of scientific groups, what is widely recognized as more vigorous and innovative (Committee for Mainstreaming - Women in Science in Norway, 2007).

Not ensured gender equality in research displays in horizontal segregation in different fields of science. For example, in the fields of physical and technological sciences where the concentration of researchers makes up to 50 per cent women make only 12 per cent (LYMOS, 2012). Also vertical segregation exists in the top academic and science management levels. For example, in Lithuania there is only one woman university rector (private university). The problem may be caused by the irrational use of human resources in science. In case it stays unsolved, it may have a negative impact on research and development and impede the growth of a country's economy. …

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