An exploration of the attitudes and expectations directed towards female academics in their roles as supervisors of PhD students.
PI: Katerina Vrotsou (LiU)
Women are still widely underrepresented in senior academic positions, especially in STEM (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics). This is true also for LiU.
Despite the large body of research conducted to try to explain this gap and active initiatives taken to reduce it, the differences persist. With this as motivation, this project set out to explore the attitudes and expectations directed towards female academics in their roles as supervisors of PhD students.
The project “Attitudes towards female PhD supervisors” was inspired by a report for the pedagogic course in Research Supervision which explored the attitudes of PhD students towards their female supervisors through a small-scale interview study and a literature review. This small study gave rise to initial insights into common experiences that female academics have. You can find the report here.
A larger exploration of the topic was, therefore, pursued that was directed to all female academic staff working with STEM at LiU. An anonymous survey was composed exploring the experiences of female supervisors w.r.t discrimination, challenging of their supervisor capacity, as well as differences in attitudes and expectations toward them. Responders were encouraged to leave their contact information if they were willing to participate in a follow-up interview. The survey so far has collected responses from 31 female main/co-supervisors and 4 follow up interviews were conducted. The results and insights from it are being summarized into an article.