Lifelong ends at 40

March 11, 2005

I have become used to discourses of "lifelong" learning that focus only on the young. Still, it is disappointing to see that despite your "widening participation initiative" Times Higher Award your scheme does not acknowledge mature entry or gendered differences in career patterns.

Like countless others, I first encountered the academy as a mature student taking an Open University degree. I developed my academic career while combining part-time study, part-time paid work and full-time motherhood.

Now aged over 50, I recently published my first book.

Your "young academic" and "young researcher" awards are not available to older academics early in a career. In looking for winners of your "lifetime achievement award" I wonder just how long a lifetime will be?

Sue Jackson
Birkbeck, University of London

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