Encyclopedia of Educational Philosophy and Theory

2017 Edition
| Editors: Michael A. Peters

Feminization Thesis: Gender and Higher Education

  • Sarah Jane Aiston
Reference work entry
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-981-287-588-4_433


In contemporary society, women have made significant gains in terms of their participation rate as undergraduate students worldwide, to the extent to which a feminization of higher education thesis has been put forward. Claims have arisen that women are “taking over” higher education, not only in terms of student numbers, but also the culture of universities (Leathwood and Read 2009).

But to what extent has an increase in the number of women in higher education led to a reconceptualization of gender and the university as a “space” in which women are no longer “out of place” (Aiston 2006)? There are many indicators to suggest otherwise, for example, prevailing sexism, “laddism” and a culture of harassment that has been identified as an aspect of university life for women undergraduates in the UK and the USA (NUS 2013). In Mainland China, the dominant discourse of graduate women as a “third sex” (men, women, women with PhDs) represents highly educated women as troublesome...

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Copyright information

© Springer Nature Singapore Pte Ltd. 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.University of BirminghamBirminghamUK