International symposium celebrates women's Day

Monday, 15 August 2016

The Centre of Excellence for Equity in Higher Education co-hosted an international symposium in South Africa that coincided with National Women’s Day to discuss issues around gender equity in higher education.

Professor Penny Jane Burke with representatives from the symposium

The symposium was co-hosted with the Doctoral and Post-Doctoral Network on Gender, Social Justice and Praxis at the University of KwaZulu-Natal (UKZN) that brings together researchers dedicated to social justice in higher education.

CEEHE Director, Professor Penny Jane Burke, delivered the keynote address on the topic of ‘The Right to Higher Education: Gender and the Politics of Mis/recognition’.

In her presentation, she drew on feminist post-structural theoretical perspectives with a focus on the insidious workings of power and inequality across different higher educational contexts, while considering the politics of mis/recognition at play in possibilities for widening participation (WP) policy and practice.

“Higher educational spaces are always sites of struggle in which shifting, complex, and discursively produced power relations are at play in the formation of gendered subjectivities and in the privileging of particular epistemological and ontological perspectives and frameworks,” she said.

Professor Burke acknowledged the passionate commitment of many of those who continue to work in the name of WP within and across higher education institutions, and their dedication to fight for more equitable, inclusive and ethical higher education spaces and practices, drawing on the insights of critical and feminist theoretical perspectives to support their work.

“The right to higher education requires multiple strategies including the redistribution of privileged resources and opportunities, reflexive attention to the politics of recognition and gendered subjective construction, and praxis that draws together the insights of critical, feminist and post-structural theories with embedded, transformative and participatory practices in higher education,” she stated.

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