Fully funded PhD scholarship

We are delighted to share news of a fully funded PhD scholarship with one of our board members: Dr Maria Tsourfouli at the University of Wolverhampton.

Title of Study:- ‘Facilitating career development of women in Science, Technology, Engineering, Mathematics and Medicine (STEMM): Towards increasing understanding, participation progression and retention’.

Enquiries to Dr Maria Tsouroufli

Location: Wolverhampton/Walsall.

Funding amount: The studentships consist of full UK/EU tuition fees, as well as a Doctoral Stipend of £13,750 for 3 years.

Hours: Full-time.

Full details can be seen here.

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Joan Acker 1924-2016

It is with sadness that we acknowledge the death of Joan Acker a Professor from the University of Oregon in the US on the 22nd June 2016. Joan was a renowned feminist, sociologist, educator, researcher and writer who carried on working in her eighties.

I had the pleasure of working with Joan as guest editor on compiling a special edition of articles for the Equality, Diversity and Inclusion Journal in 2012 for an edition http://dx.doi.org/10.1108/026101512112090722 that celebrated her contribution to theorising gender and organisation.   What was exciting about working with Joan was her generosity to other academics, as she reviewed the other academics contribution for this journal which underpinned her claim that academic dialogue is needed to bridge the generations between academics. In her work on gendered processes in organisations she outlined the reoccurring need to be reflexive about inequalities regimes and new patterns of gender, class and race inequalities. It the continuing existence of these gendered, racial and class sub-structures that continue to make discussion about outcomes linked to the intersectionality of class, gendered and racial processes relevant to theorists today.

What came through from Joan was her humanity whether it was towards her family, or to other activists or academics.  She was always an approachable feminist academic who was driven by the belief that academics in the field of equality, diversity and inclusion can make a difference. She was supportive but clear-sighted when advocating change.  Even in 2011 she considered that there was still work to be done by academics to challenge ideas of gender neutrality within the idea of the abstract worker as well as recognising the complexity of other competing forms of inequalities in periods of crisis.

She will be much missed.

Dr Susan Sayce

Co-editor Interdisciplinary perspectives on Equality and Diversity

Norwich Business School, University of East Anglia

Women’s careers in museums

Women’s careers in Scottish museums – reflections and a call for interview participants from Steven Glasgow SG264@hw.ac.uk 2nd year PhD student, Intercultural Research Centre, Heriot Watt University

Although there is a small body of research exploring women’s careers in museums, the sector has largely escaped analysis of its gender (in)equality. In this blog post I discuss the background to my PhD research, which is funded by the Moffatt Charitable Trust. I begin by setting out the limited existing information on gender and careers in museums, moving to a call for interview participants.

Museum employment does not spring to mind when people talk of gendered workplaces but research shows that whilst women are well represented in the lower levels of museum employment, some struggle to progress to higher positions (Schwarzer, 2007). When confronted with this, it is puzzling that the sector has largely escaped a gendered lens. That is not to say that there is not research on the employment of women in museums. Levin (2010) provides a collection of articles, case study and essays in Gender, Sexuality and Museums, but there is much scope for further research. The focus of my research is Scotland, there were 27.65 million visits to around the 460 museums in 2014, generating an economic impact of £890.88 million (MGS, 2015). The sector also contributes 3,552 paid roles and 4,667 voluntary positions (MGS, 2015). Women comprise a majority of employees in UK museums whilst making up 84% of museum studies students and having a dominant presence in early-career roles which has led to employer ‘concern’ that few men are in these positions (Davies, 2007).

The lack of gender focus may come from the problem not being sufficiently recognised by governing bodies, equality measures in the sector in recent years have been mainly focused on class and ethnicity. Commissioned reports by the Museums Association on workplace diversity in museums such as Culture Change, Dynamism and Diversity (Davies & Wilkinson, 2011) and Diversify: Reflections and Recommendations (Shaw, 2013) make little reference to gender as a diversity issue. However, research has indicated women face their own difficulties, for example, they can struggle for acceptance in directorships (Adams, 2010) and that there can be pervasive organisational structures that hinder women (Turner, 2002).

My research focuses on the experiences of women in the early-career museum professions, for example, junior curators, educators and exhibitioners. These occupations are competitive spaces for employment despite guideline salaries from the Museums Association (2009) ranging from £16,000 – £23,750, which are comparatively low next to other sectors. The Museums Association (2015) note the strong demand for these positions has meant that a postgraduate education and relevant volunteering experience are needed for most types of entry level position. With much unpaid volunteer work and the cost of a postgraduate degree, access to employment is weighted in favour of affluent individuals or those who can depend financially on others.

Accessing early-career positions is difficult, but progressing in them presents its own challenges. Souhami (2013) in interviews with four women in early career positions note vague career structures, guidance, training or job stability. The struggle to progress for two of the women has led them to enrol on PhD courses as they believe it will place them better to progress. These clear issues affecting early-career museum professionals need to be further unpicked and understood, and according to Souhami, have rarely been heard. Further to this, there is little research that connects these early-career experiences to gender. Through researching the lived experiences of women in early-career museum professions it is aimed for a greater understanding of these gender issues and ultimately for the study to inform future gender policy. As such, I invite anyone in a paid early-career position in Scotland who would like to take part in an interview for my study to contact me (SG264@hw.ac.uk) for a discussion on your experiences. My research has received ethical approval from Heriot Watt University. I anticipate interviews lasting approximately one hour, and will be an opportunity to inform policy and academic debates in the sector.

Reference List

Adams, R. (2010). The New Girl in the Old Boy Network: Elizabeth Esteve-Coll at the Victoria & Albert Museum. In A. K. Levin (Ed.), Gender, Sexuality and Museums: A Routledge Reader (pp. 28-42). Oxon: Routledge.

Davies, M. (2007). The Tomorrow People: Entry to the museum workforce: University of East Anglia.

Davies, M., & Wilkinson, H. (2011). Culture Change, Dynamism and Diversity. London: Museums Association.

Levin, A. K. (2010). Gender, sexuality and museums: a Routledge reader: Routledge.

MGS. (2015a). 2014 Visit Estimates for Scotland’s Museums and Galleries Sector. Edinburgh: Museums Galleries Scotland.

MuseumsAssociation. (2009). Salary Guidelines 2009. UK: Museums Association.

MuseumsAssociation. (2015). Getting a First Job.   Retrieved 01/11/2015, from http://www.museumsassociation.org/careers/getting-a-first-job

Schwarzer, M. (2007). Women in the temple-Gender and leadership in museums. Museum News, 86(3), 56-64.

Shaw, L. (2013). Diversify: Reflections and Recommendations. London: Museums Association.

Souhami, R. (2013). The Low Down on the Life of Early Career Museum Professionals. from http://www.londonmuseumsgroup.org/2013/10/11/low-life-early-career-museum-professionals/

Turner, V. (2002). The Factors Affecting Women’s Success in Museum Careers: A Discussion of the Reasons More Women Do Not Reach the Top, and of Strategies to Promote their Future Success. Journal of Conservation and Museum Studies8.

 

Apprenticeships; only those from stable family homes need apply

Apprenticeships; only those from stable family homes need apply

 Susan Sayce, Norwich Business School, University of East Anglia:

Connor Green’s IPED student essay on apprenticeship and inclusion   confirms that apprenticeship schemes are a highly topical subject in the UK. The debate on apprenticeship schemes has been fuelled by political parties in the run-up to the general election of 2015. The Conservative party have promised to create 3 million new apprenticeship schemes, whilst the Labour party have promise 80,000 new apprenticeship schemes each year (Wintour, 2015).  Apprenticeships are seen as a key route into employment that connects with the requirement of young people to engage in education and training till they are 18.  Thus new apprenticeships still include traditional skill training and employment recognition but off-the job training offered by colleges and private providers, funding to contribute to off-the-job training costs and an industry wide framework based on NVQs

As the OECD points in its skills report apprenticeships are a good fit for young people who may have the qualifications for HE but who consider that HE is not for them, and for other young people who are less academic and want to learn technical skills while working. It also stresses the need for apprenticeships to be opened up to women and disadvantaged young people generally. This support for apprenticeships is good news for employers who remain committed to training and developing a new generation of young people with key technical skills, which is fundamental to good quality apprenticeships schemes. But the OECD also stress the importance of good governance to avoid young people being exploited as cheap labour, which may be a risk as apprentice routes are widened in the UK to include new industries and new sectors.

As apprenticeship schemes expand from their traditional heartlands of construction and manufacturing to include public services such as local government, finance and even estate agencies. There has been one area that has been politically contentious and that is the low level of minimum pay for apprentices, which is set by government. There has always been an element of cost sharing re training among employers and apprentices but there have been concerns about the low level of apprenticeship wages and the threat of exploitation.

For example the former business secretary Vince Cable has been particularly vocal in support for a rise in the apprentice national minimum wage (Horsley, 2015). Additionally trade unions have expressed concern at the level of apprenticeship pay which they label as exploitative (BBC, 2015). Trade unions bodies including the national union of stduents also express concern that apprentice schemes are not fully inclusive for young people due to the low level of pay (NUS, 2015). On the 17th March 2015 the UK coalition government announced a 20% increase in the apprenticeship national minimum wage which took effect in October 2015.

Minimum Wage Levels

Year 21and over 18 to20 Under 18 Apprentice*
2015 (current rate)     £6.70     £5.30        £3.87          £3.30
2014     £6.50     £5.13        £3.79          £2.73

*This rate is for apprentices aged 16 to 18 and those aged 19 or over who are in their first year. All other apprentices are entitled to the National Minimum Wage for their age. Https://www.gov.uk/national-minimum-wage-rates

However, despite these rises Green (2015)  indicates that the OECD is right to highlight governance as an issue with apprenticeships.  A National Union of Students (2015) report states that the apprentice wage is not enough to cover basic living expenses such as travel, rent and food. In order to cover these expenses many apprentices are having to seek additional part-time employment. It is argued the exploitative wage results in potential apprentices from disadvantaged backgrounds being excluded from the scheme due to the unaffordability. London Council (2012) reported that many young people would in fact be better off receiving benefits than partaking in an apprenticeship scheme. It is also argued the low wage of apprentice scheme creates an inclusivity to those with financially secure parental support, with low income families being unable to afford the resulting loss of child benefit. Also there is evidence Winterbotham et al. (2014) found that 24% of 16-18 year old apprentices are paid below their entitled minimum wage rate, a worrying trend when the level of pay is below the minimum wage. And this was the case with one apprentice that Green interviewed.  Furthermore there is unequal apprenticeship wage distribution the TUC (2013) reported in (2013) that women had no representation in the highest paid apprenticeship occupations such as electricians, whose training has a higher cost premium.  However it has to be recognised that the importance of pay to some apprentices is low because it is offset by training and development opportunities.

The apprentices all had negative perceptions of the apprentice national minimum wage. In regard to the apprentice national minimum wage as Green’s interviews (2015) outline the apprentices found travel and living costs difficult to meet: “It is barely enough to pay the bus fares to work each week…” (Apprentice 1, Sales) “No one could possibly live on £2 something an hour” which was the figure when the apprentice was interviewed. (Apprentice 3, Manufacturing).

A politician who was interviewed accepted that the pay was low but that was why the level was reviewed each year. A manufacturer who employed apprentices picked up on the politicians point about affordability “I recognise it is low…but we must consider the costs”. But this viewpoint was not shared by all the employers with an insurer who pays well above the minimum rate confirming that they didn’t think the low levels were fair.

 

 

A notion of unfairness emerged when talking to the apprentices as one apprentice who received over £7.00 a hour indicated with the low rate. It’s ridiculous… it takes the piss out of people” (Apprentice 2, Insurance).The apprentices all had negative perceptions of the apprentice national minimum wage. In regard to the apprentice national minimum wage the apprentices stated that travel and living costs were difficult to meet because they were barely able to pay the bus fares to work and that anyone who had to live on ‘£2, something an hour’ would struggle to keep a car on the road that would get them to work.

 

It was clear that the apprentices were dependent on family support because of the low levels of pay. For example, a manufacturing apprentice made reference to how cautious he/she had to be when spending and not living at home was not an option. It was the only way to afford the apprenticeship. A hairdressing apprentice considered her/himself to be entirely financially dependent on parental handouts: “I’m not financially dependent on myself at all really… Mum and Dad pay for everything” (Apprentice 4, Hairdressing).

 

The role of family support in apprenticeships was also mentioned by the trade union representative who viewed it as crucial for successfully completing an apprenticeship scheme because without it they “can’t even get to work” (Union representative). Furthermore the plastics manufacturer who ran 20 apprenticeships regarded parental support as vital to apprenticeship schemes: “It is important with apprenticeship schemes that you have a stable, supportive family” (Plastics manufacturer).

 

Based on an analysis of Green’s research this suggests that apprenticeships in the UK are viewed as tenable only when apprentices have stable family backgrounds and support, which as the OECD report highlights is not helping those from disadvantaged backgrounds who have more fragmented families. There also needs to be a recognition of the extent of financial dependency on parents and guardians in being able to pursue an apprenticeship scheme and this is clear in the government web-site which has an information site for parents and guardians.  This is a point that needs to be considered politically as there is an assumption that all young people have access to this support, which is not always the case and that young people from more challenging home environment will self-select themselves out of consideration and find themselves excluded from this type of work thereby continuing to perpetuate wider social exclusion for those from unstable family backgrounds.

 

https://apprenticeshipvacancymatchingservice.lsc.gov.uk/navms/forms/candidate/apprenticeships.aspx

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Launch of our 1st issue

This was an exciting week for IPED – as we were able to launch our first issue. The idea for the journal came from some unhelpful experiences with the peer review process (some of which were featured on Buzzfeed). We first began discussing the journal in 2011, gradually building an editorial board, a web presence and now publishing our first issue. The team wanted to set up a journal where all content is free to access, there are no charges for submission or publishing. Research should not be held behind paywalls, and open access offers a chance for anyone to submit and access research.

Our first issue can be found here and features research exploring Asperger Syndrome (full paper) in the workplace, apprenticeships (student essay), the experiences of international PhD students (full paper) and equality and diversity managers in higher education (research note). We are also fortunate to include a book review and a commentary from Professor Jo Brewis.

Bringing this 1st issue together has been hard work, but rewarding. We hope IPED will provide a forum for publishing innovative research which challenges the status quo. If you have any ideas for unusual research approaches, teaching ideas or other material you think would be of interest please drop us an email (k.sang@hw.ac.uk).

I would like to thank Heriot Watt University for supporting the journal, all the authors, editorial board and reviewers for their hard work. I have been delighted by the amount of support the journal has received from scholars across the career stages. We hope you enjoy this first issue and will share it with your networks and join us in making a small (but important) contribution to a shift in academic publishing.

(Real) Cowboy Up!

By Dr. Rebecca Finkel, Senior Lecturer at Queen Margaret University, Edinburgh.

Along with issues of gender identity, I’m also interested in ethnicity and rodeo, especially given America’s somewhat complicated relationship with multiculturalism and so-called race relations. Preliminary secondary research is showing that there is a lot of segregation in rodeo events and performances. I suppose I shouldn’t be surprised, as events reflect broader societal norms for the most part, but I guess it’s disappointing to see such segregation in this day and age. There’s professional rodeo, which appears to be mainly white men; gay rodeo; women’s rodeo; Native American/Indian rodeo; African-American rodeo; Black rodeo; ‘Cowboys of Color‘; Charreada/Mexican rodeo; Disabled rodeo. It’s almost tribal. Historically, the ‘Wild West’ was a lot more diverse and integrated than rodeo presents it.

I spoke to two friends living in the American West, and they did not seem surprised at all by the multitude of factions in rodeo. It seems to be par for the course. Basically, from my understanding of the situation, the ethnically-focused groups were established as a reaction to the dominance of the white heterosexual male being presented as the ‘real’ cowboys. Interviews with African-American cowboy and rodeo associations bring up the ‘forgotten history’ and ‘lost heritage’ of Black cowboys, who were vital in settling the West.

The myth of the cowboy is very much linked to the rise of segregation and anti-immigration sentiment, which diminished the role of the non-white male in ‘building’ America. The invented tradition of the West has social, political, and moral significance, which has been reinforced by contemporary popular culture and media. Think of a cowboy. Silent, alone on his horse, independent, free to roam. Who comes to mind? John Wayne, Clint Eastwood, Gary Cooper, Jack Palance, Alan Ladd (Shane), Clayton Moore (Lone Ranger), Robert Redford, Sam Elliott, the Marlboro Man. Spaghetti Westerns have a lot to account for in constructing the concept of ‘cowboy’ in the popular imagination, it seems. Only in the past decades have marginalised groups started to assert their place and status in the ‘Wild West’ narrative.

A friend in Denver and I were discussing the idea of ‘legitimacy’ and ‘authenticity’ with regard to cowboy culture, which then manifests itself in public performances at rodeos. Authenticity is a complex term, imbued with meaning from those who construct it, given to multiple interpretations and narratives. It appears that authenticity in this case is established by constructing an identity based on ‘othering’ to legitimise yourself.

There appears to be an insecurity among cowboys about ‘infiltration’ from non-real cowboys. This has been exacerbated by a proliferation of rich retirees buying ranches, which has brought skepticism particularly to California cowboys. Has the desire to protect cowboying from fake cowboys translated into racism and homophobia?

Legitimacy of cowboys seems to be defined by beef and bourbon (gout?) and a particular construction of what is and is not ‘real’. It’s not about material culture necessarily – wearing a hat, boots, and gun doesn’t make you a cowboy. Any ‘imposter’ can buy their way into looking like a cowboy.

You have to be tough to take part in some rodeo sports. But how can ‘tough’ be defined by gender, sexuality, ethnicity? Isn’t the act of participating legitimacy enough?

Who is the real cowboy? Is it even a ‘boy’? Why does it matter?

This article previously appeared here.

Rebecca’s blog on rodeo masculinities can be accessed here.

CfP Critical interpretations of the representation and re(production) of organisational life in popular culture: international perspectives.

Special issue CfP (deadline 31st August 2016)

Critical interpretations of the representation and re(production) of organisational life in popular culture: international perspectives.

Guest editors:

Dr Rebecca Finkel, Senior Lecturer, Queen Margaret University, rfinkel@qmu.ac.uk

Dr Kate Sang, Associate Professor, Heriot-Watt University, k.sang@hw.ac.uk

Steven Glasgow, PhD student, Heriot Watt University, SG264@hw.ac.uk

This special issue examines the interface between popular culture and organisational life, and how popular culture represents, constructs, and negotiates issues relating to masculinities and femininities. A range of scholars from different disciplines are analysing popular culture to understand the complexities of work under neoliberal capitalism and the personal, professional, and subjective vagaries of organisational life. Recent examples include analyses of series such as Mad Men (see special issue of Cultural Studies Review), Star Trek Voyager (Bowring, 2004), The Bill (a British police procedural drama) (Sullivan and Sheridan, 2005), The Apprentice (Windle, 2010), and Futurama (Pullen and Rhodes, 2012). Analysing popular culture and its representations of working life is useful for media and cultural studies on a number of counts: first, it brings concepts and theories from a wide range of disciplines such as sociology, film studies, communication studies, literary theory, management, and psychoanalysis, bringing new theories and concepts to enrich our analyses of gender and race in organisations. Secondly, as Emma Bell (2008) argues, TV and film allows for an exploration of the emotional and personal aspects of management and organisations, providing resources through which individuals can critically reflect on their work experiences. Thus, film and television can be viewed as part of that social construction of management and organisational life (Bell, 2008). Indeed, popular culture is often critical of working life and large corporations (Hassard and Halliday, 2008). Thirdly, popular culture offers ideals and exemplars of what is imagined to be the ‘good life’ achievable through work.

In spite of the upsurge of interest in popular culture in organisational theory, relatively little of this literature provides us with a sustained feminist or critical race analysis of organisations or management. In particular, little is said about and how films and television may influence managerial and organisational masculinities and femininities and their classing and racialisation. In this special issue, we welcome contributions which explore popular representations of management and managers, especially those which use feminist and critical race theory to critique how managerial masculinities and femininities are (re)produced. We particularly welcome papers which look at the representation of women of colour and from those examining sources of media in languages other than English. Submissions may address (but are not limited to) the following questions:

  • How can feminist analyses of representations of management deepen our understanding of how gender, class and race are (re)produced in contemporary workplaces?
  • How can academic disciplines such as film and television studies or literary theory inform studies of management and its practice?
  • How do cultural representations of organisational life inform, influence or reflect working life?
  • How is gender in the workplace represented in a range of popular culture forms, for example, soap operas, graphic novels, films and fiction. We particularly welcome analyses of popular culture in non English speaking countries.
  • What resources does popular culture offer us for critiquing gendering and racialization in organisations?
  • How can representations of gender at work be used to support teaching?

Submissions can be in English, German, Greek, Thai. For other languages please contact the editorial team as we may be able to accommodate this, for example, French, Spanish or Portugese. To discuss ideas for a paper please contact the editorial team.

Manuscripts should be no more than 8,000 words, including notes and references, and be in conformity with IPED style guidelines. If you have an idea for a shorter piece e.g. a research note please contact the editorial team. We welcome innovative pieces so please do get in touch if you have something you’d like to discuss.

Papers should be submitted online via http://journals.hw.ac.uk/index.php/IPED/index

Closing date for submissions 31st August, 2016