Stuck in a bottleneck: the careers of female academics at Australian universities

Document Type

Conference Proceeding


European Academy of Management

Place of Publication

Reykjavik, Iceland


School of Business and Law




Sharafizad, F., Brown, K., Jogulu, U., & Omari, M. (2018, June). Stuck in a bottleneck: The careers of female academics at Australian Universities. In Refereed Proceedings of the European Academy of Management (EURAM18)- Research in Action: Accelerating Knowledge Creation in Management. Available here


This paper contributes to the existing literature regarding the career trajectories of female academics in the Australian context by focusing on the possible explanations for the existence of blockages in the careers of full-time and fractional full-time female academics. Australian Higher Education staff data from the Australian Department of Education and Training (2017) indicate there are bottlenecks affecting the career progression of female academics between the two mid-level academic levels and the two most senior levels. An exploration of the literature exposes an absence of empirical data regarding the reasons for the poorer outcomes of academic careers for women compared to men in Australia. We contend that mid-level promotions are a critical leap in academic careers and suggest that the significant barriers faced at these specific classifications must be addressed before gender equity can be achieved. Role congruity and selfefficacy theories are introduced as possible theoretical frameworks that underpin the current inequity in academia in an effort to understand how socially constructed gender roles affect the career progression of female academics.

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