Perceptions of success of women early career researchers

Amy Reynolds, Catherine O'Mullan, Anja Pabel, Ann Martin-Sardesai, Stephanie Alley, Susan Richardson, Linda Colley, Jaquelin BOUSIE, Janya McCalman

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Abstract

Purpose: In the highly gendered academic sector, womens’ high participation rates have not translated into equal career progression with men. Existing literature suggests that early career publication success is a good indicator of long-term publication success. This research is intended to provide a better understanding of whether the notions of success espoused by neo-liberal universities align with the subjective measures of what constitutes academic success for women ECRs (early career researchers). Design/methodology/approach: The study examines the perceptions of nine successful women ECRs at an Australian university. It uses collaborative autoethnography with thematic analysis of participants’ self-reflective narratives on being a successful ECR. Findings: Five themes were identified. One focussed on objective academic success, which included publications, grants and citations. The other four themes – living a balanced life, making a difference, labour of love and freedom and flexibility – offered more subjective views of success. These included: research making a contribution to society, undertaking research they are passionate about, having autonomy in their role and achieving work-life balance. Practical implications: The findings demonstrate that women define success in broader terms than neo-liberal universities, and future studies should consider these divergent definitions. Universities committed to equality should understand differences in how women may approach career progress and incorporate this into support processes and in alignment of individual and university goals. Originality/value: This research offers unique insights into the experience of post-doctoral employment for women in the academic environment and the factors influencing their success in this early career phase.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2-18
Number of pages17
JournalStudies in Graduate and Postdoctoral Education
Volume9
Issue number1
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2018
Externally publishedYes

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career
university
academic success
work-life-balance
grant
equality
flexibility
autonomy
narrative
participation
methodology
Values
experience

Cite this

Reynolds, A., O'Mullan, C., Pabel, A., Martin-Sardesai, A., Alley, S., Richardson, S., ... McCalman, J. (2018). Perceptions of success of women early career researchers. Studies in Graduate and Postdoctoral Education, 9(1), 2-18. https://doi.org/10.1108/SGPE-D-17-00019
Reynolds, Amy ; O'Mullan, Catherine ; Pabel, Anja ; Martin-Sardesai, Ann ; Alley, Stephanie ; Richardson, Susan ; Colley, Linda ; BOUSIE, Jaquelin ; McCalman, Janya. / Perceptions of success of women early career researchers. In: Studies in Graduate and Postdoctoral Education. 2018 ; Vol. 9, No. 1. pp. 2-18.
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Reynolds, A, O'Mullan, C, Pabel, A, Martin-Sardesai, A, Alley, S, Richardson, S, Colley, L, BOUSIE, J & McCalman, J 2018, 'Perceptions of success of women early career researchers', Studies in Graduate and Postdoctoral Education, vol. 9, no. 1, pp. 2-18. https://doi.org/10.1108/SGPE-D-17-00019

Perceptions of success of women early career researchers. / Reynolds, Amy; O'Mullan, Catherine; Pabel, Anja; Martin-Sardesai, Ann; Alley, Stephanie; Richardson, Susan; Colley, Linda; BOUSIE, Jaquelin; McCalman, Janya.

In: Studies in Graduate and Postdoctoral Education, Vol. 9, No. 1, 2018, p. 2-18.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

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T1 - Perceptions of success of women early career researchers

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AU - O'Mullan, Catherine

AU - Pabel, Anja

AU - Martin-Sardesai, Ann

AU - Alley, Stephanie

AU - Richardson, Susan

AU - Colley, Linda

AU - BOUSIE, Jaquelin

AU - McCalman, Janya

PY - 2018

Y1 - 2018

N2 - Purpose: In the highly gendered academic sector, womens’ high participation rates have not translated into equal career progression with men. Existing literature suggests that early career publication success is a good indicator of long-term publication success. This research is intended to provide a better understanding of whether the notions of success espoused by neo-liberal universities align with the subjective measures of what constitutes academic success for women ECRs (early career researchers). Design/methodology/approach: The study examines the perceptions of nine successful women ECRs at an Australian university. It uses collaborative autoethnography with thematic analysis of participants’ self-reflective narratives on being a successful ECR. Findings: Five themes were identified. One focussed on objective academic success, which included publications, grants and citations. The other four themes – living a balanced life, making a difference, labour of love and freedom and flexibility – offered more subjective views of success. These included: research making a contribution to society, undertaking research they are passionate about, having autonomy in their role and achieving work-life balance. Practical implications: The findings demonstrate that women define success in broader terms than neo-liberal universities, and future studies should consider these divergent definitions. Universities committed to equality should understand differences in how women may approach career progress and incorporate this into support processes and in alignment of individual and university goals. Originality/value: This research offers unique insights into the experience of post-doctoral employment for women in the academic environment and the factors influencing their success in this early career phase.

AB - Purpose: In the highly gendered academic sector, womens’ high participation rates have not translated into equal career progression with men. Existing literature suggests that early career publication success is a good indicator of long-term publication success. This research is intended to provide a better understanding of whether the notions of success espoused by neo-liberal universities align with the subjective measures of what constitutes academic success for women ECRs (early career researchers). Design/methodology/approach: The study examines the perceptions of nine successful women ECRs at an Australian university. It uses collaborative autoethnography with thematic analysis of participants’ self-reflective narratives on being a successful ECR. Findings: Five themes were identified. One focussed on objective academic success, which included publications, grants and citations. The other four themes – living a balanced life, making a difference, labour of love and freedom and flexibility – offered more subjective views of success. These included: research making a contribution to society, undertaking research they are passionate about, having autonomy in their role and achieving work-life balance. Practical implications: The findings demonstrate that women define success in broader terms than neo-liberal universities, and future studies should consider these divergent definitions. Universities committed to equality should understand differences in how women may approach career progress and incorporate this into support processes and in alignment of individual and university goals. Originality/value: This research offers unique insights into the experience of post-doctoral employment for women in the academic environment and the factors influencing their success in this early career phase.

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KW - Gender at work

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Reynolds A, O'Mullan C, Pabel A, Martin-Sardesai A, Alley S, Richardson S et al. Perceptions of success of women early career researchers. Studies in Graduate and Postdoctoral Education. 2018;9(1):2-18. https://doi.org/10.1108/SGPE-D-17-00019