Real force needed to smash ceiling

August 2, 1996

The attention given in The THES to the so-called "glass ceiling", better described as the undervaluing and under-recognition of women academics, is most welcome. it prompts two thoughts about how to achieve real change.

First, it requires day-to-day attention to the implementation of policies which allow women's work and talent due consideration and reward. Persistence in seeing that appraisal, career development and promotion always take account of varied career structures, qualities and achievements is more important than egalitarian rhetoric.

Second, senior academics and managers must acknowledge that they need to give more authority and priority to shifting the historic conventions that disadvantage women academics, which means a change in their own habits and practices which they may find uncomfortable. Such a change is, however, justified as the means to support and develop under-used talent, as well as in terms of justice and equity. It is to be hoped that the work of the Committee of Vice Chancellors and Principals's Committee on University Career Opportunity will put some real force behind both these approaches.

JOANNA de GROOT President, AUT

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