Gendered images of international research collaboration

Kathrin Zippel
February 5, 2018
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Joan Acker's theory on gendered organizations offers important tools for understanding subtler forms of inequalities and gendered practices in the workplace. According to Acker, invisible mechanisms in organizations such as the symbolic and material/structural aspects of organizations reproduce gendered inequalities. My application of Acker's theory demonstrates how imagery itself assigns value to collaborative practices in gender stereotypical ways. In an institutional context that devalues international research collaboration among faculty, gendered images of exploiter, patronizing helper, partner, or friend ultimately serve to construct glass fences - obstacles to international collaborative engagement - particularly for women. The reflection and potential recreation of gendered inequalities among academics simultaneously reconstructs inequalities between the U.S. and abroad, as institutional reward structures attach gendered symbolic and material values that (re)shape (international) collaborations themselves. Together, these processes construct the gendered organization of global science and academia.