n South African Journal of Higher Education - The representation of women academics in higher education in South Africa : progress in the pipeline?

Volume 19, Issue 2
  • ISSN : 1011-3487



This article is devoted to a discussion of women academics (more specifically instructional/research staff) in higher education in South Africa. It disaggregates the sex-specific data by sector, race, age, rank, qualification and scientific field. The proportion of female instructional/research staff substantially increased from 30 per cent in 1992 to about 40 per cent in 2001, with a small but continued increase in their share of senior positions. Women, however, are still under-represented at the upper ranks. Should the increase continue, one would eventually expect equal representation of the sexes in the most senior ranks. This argument, known as women's progress 'being in the pipeline', does not appear too unrealistic for South Africa, given that no differences were found in either rank or employment status (full-time/part-time) for women and men younger than 30 years (i.e. young academics). Various factors, however, may prevent women's progress into higher ranks or more stable positions.

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