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The conundrums of formal and informal meritocracy: dealing with gender segregation in the academy

Powell, Stina and Arora-Jonsson, Seema (2022). The conundrums of formal and informal meritocracy: dealing with gender segregation in the academy. Higher Education. 83 :5 , 969-985
[Research article]

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Despite the academy's commitment to the idea of meritocratic and fair principles in recruitments, promotions, student admissions and progress, gender segregation and gender inequalities continue to trouble universities worldwide. Through case-studies of two education programs at a Swedish university, we investigate how processes of formal merit, both formal (required for admission such as high grades) and what we identify as informal merit (needing to act in particular ways once admitted) work to obviate or reproduce gender-segregation. We analyze how everyday gendering processes in the classroom play a central role in what gets constructed as merit. Changing notions of merit during the period of study can hamper possibilities for ending gender segregation in HE or open up for ways to circumvent it. We show that a complex and ongoing construction of informal merit can restrain students from minority groups (in relation to gender, but also ethnic background, socioeconomic position, or sexuality) to enter, and importantly, remain in the program. At the same time, new ways of addressing the subject itself provides potential openings. We argue that in order to achieve gender balance at universities, it is urgent to understand how informal and formal merit interplay once students have joined the university and importantly also when they have made the leap and broken with gender segregated education choices.

Authors/Creators:Powell, Stina and Arora-Jonsson, Seema
Title:The conundrums of formal and informal meritocracy: dealing with gender segregation in the academy
Series Name/Journal:Higher Education
Year of publishing :2022
Page range:969-985
Number of Pages:17
Publication Type:Research article
Article category:Scientific peer reviewed
Version:Published version
Copyright:Creative Commons: Attribution 4.0
Full Text Status:Public
Subjects:(A) Swedish standard research categories 2011 > 5 Social Sciences > 509 Other Social Sciences > Gender Studies
Keywords:Merit, Gender segregation, Meritocracy, Gender equality, Academia
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Additional ID:
Type of IDID
Web of Science (WoS)000655798200001
ID Code:27822
Faculty:NJ - Fakulteten för naturresurser och jordbruksvetenskap
Department:(NL, NJ) > Dept. of Urban and Rural Development
(LTJ, LTV) > Dept. of Urban and Rural Development
Deposited By: SLUpub Connector
Deposited On:14 May 2022 01:25
Metadata Last Modified:14 May 2022 05:01

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