Flexibility in working-time and -space

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According to the European Institute for Gender Equality (EIGE) (2018) there is a small gender gap in the average working hours of ICT specialists compared to other occupations. This is because women in ICT jobs work more hours in average (36.9 hours a week) than women in other occupations, such as health sector (34.5 hours) (ibid.). A research conducted in Sweden’s IT-service shows that both men and women face tensions between work and family responsibilities (Holth, Bergman, & MacKenzie, 2017). Men could work longer hours because their partners could take over the family responsibilities. Women’s choice of prioritizing roles related to family responsibilities over the roles requiring high degrees of spatial and temporal work were less valued. Work–life balance policies help employers to retain and recruit women who feel they are or might be “punished” because of combining career with family responsibilities (EIGE, 2017). The policies that might prevent the spillover between work and private life include, for instance, rights related to parental-leave and care-related leave, flexible working-time and -space. In the Nordwit project Pillar 1, we see closer to how women who work in ICT reflect over the balance between family and career and how ICT organisations talk about and regulate among others flexible working-time and -space.

Gilda Seddighi

 

References: 

EIGE. (2017). Gender Equality Index 2017 – Measuring gender equality in the European Union 2005-2015. Retrieved from: https://eige.europa.eu/rdc/eige-publications/gender-equality-index-2017-measuring-gender-equality-european-union-2005-2015-report

EIGE. (2018). Women and men in ICT: a chance for better work–life balance Retrieved from: https://eige.europa.eu/rdc/eige-publications/women-and-men-ict-chance-better-work-life-balance-research-note

Holth, L., Bergman, A., & MacKenzie, R. (2017). Gender, availability and dual emancipation in the Swedish ICT sector. Work, Employment and Society, 31( 2), 230-247. doi:org/10.1177/0950017016651378

 

Research elite and academic artisans

Photo: Neil Thomas
Academic careers have become increasingly competitive and stratified. There are research high-flyers and star scientists, and there are “ordinary” academics without such a dazzling career success.  Two recent articles in Higher Education offer glimpses of different kinds of career building in the current managerial university.

Marek Kwiek, based on his study on highly productive academics in 11 European countries, concludes that the European research elite is a very homogeneous group. The results corroborate the 10/50 rule, meaning that 10 percent of academics produce 50 percent of all publications. These top performers form a universal academic species: They are much more cosmopolitan, much more research-oriented and work much longer hours than their lower-performing colleagues.

But who are these lower-performing colleagues? Are they lazy deficient failures, lacking both the skills and the drive to succeed in research? Absolutely not, according to Angela Brew, David Boud, Lisa Lucas and Karin Crawford in their recent article (2018). They are academic artisans engaged in academic artisanal work.

Academic artisans are committed to the institution, to their colleagues and to the students. They take care of the collective good and keep the university going. Yet, they are not sacrificing themselves so that others are able to fly high. Instead, they are creatively crafting their work and career so that they are able to satisfy their own goals and needs while at the same time meeting institutional requirements. What is vital to them is to have a sense of purpose and personal meaning in their work. This may  have career consequences as academic artisanal work tends to be invisible, forgotten and not recognized by the prevailing productivity metrics.

Though these articles do not reflect much on gender, it seems obvious that gender matters. I am thrilled to scrutinize what kinds of signs of research elite and academic artisans our interviews with female academics may entail.

Oili-Helena Ylijoki


References:

Brew, Angela; Boud, David; Lucas Lisa and Crawford, Karin (2018) Academic artisans in the research university. Higher Education 76(1), 115-127.

Kwiek, Marek (2016) The European research elite. Higher Education 71(3), 379-397.