Tag Archives: Robert Song

Gender, bullying and TRS

This is again worth highlighting from the British Sociological Association Sociology of Religion Study Group: Mathew Guest, Sonya Sharma and Robert Song, ‘Full Report: Gender and Career Progression in Theology and Religious Studies’ (2013).

In talking to women scholars who are at varying stages of their careers about their experiences of academia we have encountered many who speak about being in an environment where they are in the minority among men, in a culture that often affects their confidence, where they observe the difficulties of balancing the demands of academic and family life, and where they have experienced bullying and particular challenges in obtaining promotion. Their experiences demonstrate both the rewards and costs of leaning in and pursuing a career in the academy, and further demonstrate the changes that need to happen if TRS departments are to achieve gender equality.

There came from the respondents plenty of evidence, some of it quite shocking, of bullying of individual women. In some cases this was bullying from Heads of Department or senior members of the university…

Even where there are excellent bullying or harassment policies in place, institutional cultures can emerge that perpetuate a set of behavioural norms that can easily be exposed as unacceptable once highlighted and subjected to critical observation. University-wide networks of women and a strong, confidential mentoring system can make voicing concerns about bullying much easier for female staff, and support groups for female students can serve the same function.