A new ‘ERA’ of women and leadership: The gendered impact of quality assurance in Australian higher education (AUR 57 02)
Australian National University
Abstract: Quality assurance policies and practices are critical to the performance of Australian universities both in terms of national funding and international prestige and are redefining the future of the academic enterprise. Quality assurance is not merely the systematic measurement of quality. It is a political and heuristic process, which has significant gendered consequences for academic women in higher education. This paper problematises quality assurance measures such as the Australian Government’s Excellence in Research for Australia (ERA) initiative and reveals the tensions between neoliberalism and equality in a new era of higher education management. The embedded gender biases in research output reporting highlight a lack of commitment to academic women’s representation and leadership in academia. Since research performance plays such an intrinsic role in academic promotion, understanding the relationship between gender and assessments of research excellence is crucial to addressing the differences in male and female academic career trajectories and the paucity of women in academic leadership.