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I. Lozano, M. Iglesias, M.A. Martínez, N. Sauleda

University of Alicante (SPAIN)
This process of transformation at universities includes the social change of ‘the feminine’, characterised by the professional woman as part of a large human group that performs a paid job and represents a large percentage in present-day societies. Women are assuming a starring role with their presence in the scientific and academic fields and, however, the situation of female researchers within the Spanish science and technology system (MEC-UMYC, 2007) reveals that the historical discrimination still exists despite the efforts made in the areas of legislation and social awareness. In the specific case of the UA, out of 176 existing university chairs, only 22 are occupied by women. This means that the percentage of women occupying chairs (12.5%) is slightly inferior to the national average (14.3%). This is only one example; however, the proportion of women at the UA amounts to 34.7%, as opposed to 64.3% of men.
This study seeks to identify the situation among the group of female lecturers without tenure at the University of Alicante through the analysis of the aspects that they see as positive or negative in their professional teaching, research and management career at university. For this study, we interviewed a referential sample of female lecturers without tenure (ayudantes [assistant teachers], ayudantes doctoras [assistant teachers], contratadas doctoras [doctors working with a contract] and asociadas [‘associate teachers’, i.e. professionals who teach a number of hours at the University and whose position must be renewed every year]) from the University of Alicante.
The objectives of this research focused especially on identifying the causes which are relevant for variables such as the access to the university teaching and research career; the pressure exerted by family-work conciliation on the professional development of female academicians at the University of Alicante; the possible difficulties of female lecturers without tenure in the access to training, promotion, research and management opportunities, along with their assessments regarding their relationship with their male/female mentors, colleagues, and with students; and, finally, the distinction between the parameters that female academicians consider rewarding and those which they see as unsatisfactory elements of their academic life.
Hopefully, our results will help establish a sound, effective discourse on the equal rights of women at University and, especially, within the University of Alicante.
keywords: women, gender, university.