Are Universities Role Models for Communities? A Gender Perspective

Felicia Cornelia MACARIE, Octavian MOLDOVAN


The present paper explores the degree in which universities could/should serve as role models for communities from the perspective of gender integration. Although the theoretical/ moral answer would be affirmative (universities should be in such a position that would allow local communities to regard them as role models of gender integration), the primary empirical analysis leads to another conclusion. A brief theoretical review (that connects gender discrimination, sustainable development, universities and local communities) is followed by an empirical analysis that compares the management structures of 12 Romanian Universities of Advanced Research and Education (the best Romanian universities according to a national ranking) with those of four local communities where they are located (as geographic proximity would lead to a better diffusion of best practices). Contrary to initial expectations, even in higher education institutions, women are underrepresented both in executive and legislative positions. Since universities are subject to the same major patterns of gender discrimination (such as role theory, glass ceiling and glass elevator) as private and public organizations, they lose the moral high ground that theory would suggest. However, medicine and pharmacy universities that can be connected with the traditional roles attributed to women provide better gender integration, but glass escalator phenomena remain present even in these limited fields.


gender discrimination; academia; sustainable development; local communities

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