Gender equity has still not been realised, despite decades of activism, policy and research. In some of the social sciences women make up less than 15per cent of the professoriate. Yet these are the disciplines that should most aid our understanding of how gender works in society. This project asks what impact women’s limited influence and status in these key fields of research has upon our capacity to grapple with the social and political changes necessary for progress toward gender equality. In doing so, it builds persuasive arguments about how and why gender matters in the social sciences.
The project takes a new approach to advancing gender equity within Australian society by asking how well we can understand the problems if we do not first address patterns of gender bias within the social sciences. These biases appear not only in women’s under-representation but in the priorities that shape research and knowledge. The project provides a complex picture of why social science disciplines differ so markedly in this respect and the costs for disciplinary innovation and social change. It also provides case-studies of gender innovation in the social sciences and its benefits.