Challenging male hegemony : a case history of women's experiences in British and US higher education, 1970-2002
This thesis is located within the discipline of history, and centres around the experiences of women in US and British universities. Higher education in both the US and the UK, as throughout the world, has historically been male-led and male-controlled. This male hegemony of higher education continues to the present, as evidenced by the low percentage of women in the upper echelons of academia (for example, professors). Women in the US and the UK have been challenging this male hegemony since their admittance to higher education institutions in the nineteenth century. They faced fierce opposition in their efforts to open higher education to women. This opposition was later echoed in the resistance to twentieth-century feminists' efforts to found women's studies programmes. The male hegemony of higher education is evident in the case histories of the experiences of women at Appalachian State University (ASU) and the University of Gloucestershire (UG) in the latter part of the twentieth century. ASU and UG, although located in different countries, have similarities which make a comparison interesting. The male hegemony of the institutions, and women's challenges to it, is especially illustrated when analysing three areas: residence hall life (living), staff issues (working), and the women's studies programmes (teaching and learning). Women students at both institutions experienced, and successfully challenged, strict residence rules through the 1960s. National influences, such as the change in the age of majority, and pressure from the students themselves brought a loosening of these rules in the 1970s and 1980s. The conservative nature of the institutions also influenced the experience of women academic staff. Institutional management was not proactive regarding women's issues, and there is strong evidence of a `glass ceiling' at both institutions. The male hegemony of the institutions was also illustrated in the struggle to found and maintain women's studies programmes.