THE ROLE OF WOMEN IN MEXICAN HIGHER EDUCATION
Higher education has been one of the leading factors for the development of science in Mexico, with most of said development taking place in research centers and public universities. Thus, the scientific performance of Mexican women has been mostly derived from their participation in higher education, and from their subsequent incorporation into the academic profession as full time teacher-researchers.
Parting from the results of the Reconfiguración de la Profesión Académica en México (RPAM, meaning the Reconfiguration of the Academic Profession in Mexico) national study for the years 2007-2008, which was a part of the CAP (The Changing Academic Profession) international study, it is possible to analyze the situation of academic women in the country. For this study, a representative sample of the full- and part-time Mexican professoriate was surveyed during 2007-2008 (1973 surveys retrieved, and 69.8% response rate).
This paper aims to describe the research productivity of academic women, and how it is affected by personal and family issues, as well as training and job placement. Despite the rise of their participation in the field of academic research during recent decades (from 30.9% in 1992 to 37.1% in 2008), it is still lower than the male academic personnel. Its representation in research centers and the natural and exact sciences is also lower, focusing instead on the fields of education, the health sciences, and the humanities. Likewise, the number of academic women with a doctoral or postdoctoral degree, a preferential formation for the development of science and admittance to the Sistema Nacional de Investigadores (SNI, meaning National System of Researchers), is lower. The study is structured as follows:
In the first section, a methodological note is presented, wherein the results based on the RPAM (for Mexico) or the CAP (for the US) surveys are described.
The second section describes the role of women in higher education, and their efforts to achieve a place in the academic profession.
In the third section, the sociodemographic aspects that characterize Mexican women are presented.
In the fourth section, aspects relevant to the career, profession entry, attained academic degree, and membership to the SNI.
In the fifth section, aspects of job satisfaction, institution type, and areas of development are presented. Finally, a series of conclusions, given as proposals, are presented, followed by the bibliography and references.
Scenarios like these allow for the analysis of persistent gender inequalities, which would desirably be addressed by public and institutional policies in order to promote a greater equality between men and women in science.