University leaders and the public agenda: Talking about women and diversity in STEM fields

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We undertake an investigation of public statements and pronouncements from leaders at various universities to gain insight into institutional values and environments relative to women and their participation and advancement in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) and other disciplinary fields. Employing content analysis techniques to focus on terminological use and keyword interdependencies in these speeches, our findings indicate that, while gender equality is addressed as a separate topic in its own right, university leaders raise issues of gender in the context of STEM participation primarily in conjunction only with other topics. As expected, the data also support arguments suggesting diversity in general as an important goal espoused in the rhetoric of university representatives. Questions remain, however, concerning whether these speeches presage concrete institutional commitments and responses relative to the achievement of diversity, gender equality, and gender equity in the STEM professoriate. © 2009 Policy Studies Organization.




Hopewell, L. A., McNeely, C. L., Kuiler, E. W., & Hahm, J. O. (2009). University leaders and the public agenda: Talking about women and diversity in STEM fields. Review of Policy Research, 26(5), 589–607.

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