Exploring self-exclusion as a gendered barrier in Spanish universities. A mixed methodological study

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Women continue to be under-represented at the top of the university hierarchy. One of the causes indicated by the literature is women's lower interest and ambition to achieve decision-making and leadership positions compared to men. The objectives of this study were twofold. First, we empirically verified the existence of self-exclusion as an explanatory factor for vertical segregation. Second, the factors that explain this phenomenon were explored and identified from a gender perspective. For this purpose, the experiences and perceptions of the teaching and research staff of eight Spanish universities were analysed using a mixed methodological approach. Data were drawn from questionnaires and semi-structured interviews conducted with 60 academics (30 men and 30 women). The results confirmed that women do not decide to drop out of their careers freely or voluntarily. Female academics' promotion hides a complex discriminatory process. Two interrelated dynamics were identi-fied: (1) the existence of gendered universities and (2) the existence of a motherhood penalty. The findings indicated that academic careers need to be understood as a labyrinth, rather than as a lineal path, where pre-carious female academics face a web of barriers
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Women's Studies International Forum, Volume 99, July–August 2023, 102797
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