Women's work? : exploring the gender of community engagement, research and service in universities
conference contributionposted on 06.12.2017, 00:00 by N Sunderland, E Woodley
in a 1996 article published in the American Journal of Higher Education, Shelley M Park declared that: A gendered division of labour exists within (as outside) the contemporary academy wherein research is implicitly deemed “men’s work” and is explicitly valued, whereas teaching and service are characterised as “women’s work” and explicitly devalued. The purpose of this paper is to critically appraise Park’s claim regarding a gendered division of labour in the context of Australian universities. The paper will question in particular whether Park’s 1996 statement applies to contemporary practices of community engagement in universities. The authors will include a brief outline of contemporary feminist and community engagement thinking as context for the paper. By way of conclusion, we suggest that feminist scholarship and methodology, and other areas of critical scholarship in the humanities and social sciences, have a lot to offer to establishing – and critiquing – emerging community engagement activities in Australian universities. We also argue that, in raising the profile of “service” and alternative participatory modes of research as valuable pursuits in academic work, the community engagement “movement” may contribute to a more equitable academic reward and promotions system for males and females alike.