Continuing the Gender Equity in Academia Conversation: Recommendations and Next Steps
Maria J. D’Agostino
Nicole M. Elias
On July 3, 2018, we posted our summer blog thread, “Big Questions Surrounding Gender Equity in Academia and the Field of Public Administration”. The response we received from journal editors, board members, and leaders in the field was impressive and eye-opening. Throughout the summer our blog contributors reflected on women’s roles in academia, specifically public administration, with the goal of considering next steps and new ways of thinking and taking action to advance women in public administration. Some recommendations include promoting oneself and others, speaking up on behalf of untenured faculty, identifying collaborators, being transparent in selecting journal editors, and citing and including more work published by women in course materials and research.
Patricia Shields, editor of Armed Forces & Society, notes how her perspective as a woman contributed to editorial decisions. She proposes several means to increase the visibility and impact of women’s ideas and scholarship in public administration, including not to be shy and promote our work via conferences and social media. Similarly, Staci Zavattaro, editor of Administrative Theory & Praxis, recommends that we know our worth, be confident and kind as we stay true to ourselves. She also reminds us that we cannot do this alone and suggests to “find your tribe” and make that group of scholars your home and support. In addition to being supportive of female colleagues, and promoting oneself, Carole Jurkiewicz, editor of Public Integrity, offers actions we can take to mitigate organizational and cultural barriers for women. Specifically, she emphasizes the need to advocate for and speaking up on behalf of non tenured female faculty.
Recognizing the “Power in Editorial Positions: A Feminist Critique of Public Administration,” Mary Feeney, incoming editor of Journal of Public Administration Research & Theory, Lisa Carson, and Helen Dickson argue that it is time to address the inequity of women in editorial leadership positions and suggest a range of personal, interpersonal, and structural strategies to combat these inequities, including the establishment of transparent search and selection criteria for editorships. Such changes, as highlighted by Hillary Knepper, Gina Scutelnicu, and Rebecca Tekula in A Tale of Two Journals: Women’s Representation in Public Administration Scholarship, are essential for women’s success in the academy. Knepper, et. al find that women publish less than men, with men producing twice as many peer-reviewed articles as their female counterparts. They recommend that women cite other women’s work to increase visibility and citation counts. Megan Hatch reminds us that inclusion and creating a sense of belonging starts with the MPA curriculum. She suggests that one way to make women feel included in public administration is to include more women authored research in our syllabi. She introduces us to the Gender Balance Assessment Tool (GBAT) developed by Jane Lawrence Sumner to test the gender balance of our syllabi. More resources like the GBAT could remedy some of the challenges our contributors identified throughout the summer blog thread.
So, what comes next? To date, more than sixteen blog participants have contributed to the WPS blog, a forum that was created a year ago to consider the role sex/gender plays in public service and how that shapes the way we think, govern, and are served by sex/gender identities and markers. As we start off the new academic year, we hope to continue the conversation and encourage readers to undertake practices outlined by our guest bloggers. As a first step, WPS, in collaboration with Megan Hatch and Academic Women in Public Administration (AWPA), we will develop a shared database of articles authored by women in in public administration to help facilitate the creation of more inclusive syllabi and research, provide a forum to promote ourselves, and create a supportive community of scholars and practitioners. Our hope is that this blog thread provides a starting point for thinking creatively and taking action toward greater gender equity in academia.
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