Within the framework of the XXII International Symposium on Gender Studies. Where the advances and research results were disseminated and to exchange views among specialists was held in a space of discussion and academic reflection.* Dr. Louise Morley -who we had the opportunity to interview- gave the keynote lecture " Lost Leaders: Women in the Global Academy."

 

1. Have you seen any changes in Mexico, with regards to our dialogues about Gender since your last visit in 2003?

It seems that many of the global debates on gender are taking place in Mexico e.g. about gender based violence, gender mainstreaming, the absence of women in power. Another key area is challenging gender binaries, with many voices calling for an end to the classification of human beings on the basis of gender.

2.      What, in your opinion, makes leadership appealing to women?

Leadership can enable women to influence change and to demonstrate their abilities to innovate and inspire.

3.      Do women lack passion or is it a lack of opportunities that stops them from becoming leaders?

I believe that it is a complex combination of factors. Structural obstacles can deplete women's passion. Discrimination and misrecognition can mean that women make strategic decisions not to aspire for positions that they are unlikely to achieve.

4.      Why should men be interested in having more women in leadership positions in HE?

Many men desire change too, and want a less macho approach to leadership. Diversity should benefit everyone.

5.      How can the society encourage women to pursue leadership at STEM research?

This is a huge question. I always ask why it is considered so important to get more women into STEM, rather than more men into humanities. However, there is a vast literature and global movement to encourage more women into STEM. STEM needs to be more hospitable and attractive to girls and women through the way that it is taught, represented and funded.

6.      What are, according to you, the biggest practical opportunities to increase equality in terms of ensuring enrolment and retention of girls in Mexican higher education? What kind of models, ideas, strategies have proven to work either here or in other countries?

There are many models e.g. Affirmative action programmes, quotas, bursaries etc. gender mainstreaming, curriculum review, support service, gender sensitive pedagogy are also important.

7.      In your opinion, Do you have any evidence on the role that basic education can play in making sure that girls enrol and remain in higher education? If so, through what methods/focus?

The connection between basic education and higher education is a crucial one. That is why it has been so disappointing to see that the Millennium Development Goals and the post 2015 agenda only focus on basic education. We need good quality, universal basic education to create a pool of talent for higher education entry. 

8.      The concept of the Sociology of absence. Is this a line of inquiry that you are pursuing?

I have been working on this topic for several years e.g. In my research in Ghana and Tanzania on widening participation in higher education, and in my research on women and leadership. We need to get behind the statistics and ask what is causing and sustaining the absences, rather than simply report the gaps. 

9.       Are there any narratives to share about Futurality? What are they like and how is the future perceived in the area of Gender equality?

As I said in my lecture, feminists are excellent at developing critical knowledge. We are good at pointing out what is wrong with current systems, structures, processes and relationships. A key issue is what are we working towards? What would a gender equitable higher education system look like? What will be the success indicators? When will we all need to stop fighting for gender equality or equity?

10.  What could the British Council do as an international organisation to include in the education agenda gender equality?

The British Council is already doing a great deal to promote gender equality e.g. Funding research, organising international events to disseminate and transfer knowledge from academia to ministers, NGOs etc.

*Louise Morley is a Professor of Education and Director of the Centre for Higher Education and Equity Research (CHEER) at the University of Sussex, UK.

 

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