Speaking in a Different Voice: The Gendered Nature of Promotion Applications

Elisabeth Griffiths, Frances Hamilton

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterpeer-review


The gender pay gap in UK Higher Education Institutions remains high and in 2022 stood at 18.3% sector wide. This chapter explores a gender-based case study at one post 1992 University Faculty of Business and Law, which was undertaken during the course of a successful 2020 Bronze Athena Swan application. Amongst a number of activities undertaken, staff were questioned during a focus group about the perceived impact of gender on promotions. We analyse why, although some progress has been made in terms of promotion, women remain under-represented at Professor level, with its inevitable impact on the gender pay gap. Some staff consulted in the gender focus group viewed current promotion criteria as ‘inherently masculine’. The Feminist Judgments Project (as led by Hunter, McGlynn and Rackley, 2010) rewrote legal judgments, applying the law as it existed at the time, but adopting feminist theoretical approaches leading to different conclusions or different reasoning. Inspired by that approach, this paper applies a feminist approach to current promotion policies, procedures and management practices, considering their accessibility for women applicants. Many approaches to reform, including the trickle-up theory, have proven unsuccessful. We therefore recommend rewriting promotion criteria and exemplars of excellent successful applications, in order to further articulate feminist views of excellence in academia.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationThe Evolution of the Gender Pay Gap
Subtitle of host publicationA Comparative Perspective
EditorsElisabeth Griffiths, Frances Hamilton
Place of PublicationLondon
ISBN (Electronic)9781003333951
Publication statusPublished - 6 Nov 2023

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