Tardos K. – Paksi V. (2024). The role of the support of top management in gender equality outcomes in higher education and research

Tardos Katalin – Paksi Veronika (2024) The role of the support of top management in gender equality outcomes in higher education and research. Feminismo/s, 43: 271-309. (Q3)

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In the past decade, there has been increasing attention globally to the institutionalisation of diversity management practices in research, development and innovation (RDI) organisations, as well as the necessity of addressing more effectively various forms of discrimination and inequalities, especially agendas of gender inequality. Although there is extensive research on the different forms, levels, and reasons for gender inequality in RDI organisations, relatively little research has examined how top management members perceive the importance of the former. Our research examines how gender equality outcomes might differ for higher education and research-performing organisations in Hungary when top management strategically supports gender equality. For this purpose, we use –among the indicators by which the European Union (EU) measures progress related to achieving Sustainable Developmental Goal #5 on Gender Equality– the gender employment gap, the gender pay gap, and positions held by women in senior management. We applied a quantitative approach, using an online questionnaire to survey forty-eight higher education institutions and research centres. Our findings build on a comparison of two subsamples; the first in which top management attributes strategic importance to gender equality, and the second in which this strategic approach is lacking. The results show that the «strategic» subsample can primarily be differentiated from the «non-strategic» subsample due to the former’s implementation of significantly more gender equality initiatives at the individual and cultural levels. Concerning initiatives on the structural and organisational level, no significant difference could be found. Furthermore, while a positive linear relationship was found between the number of gender equality practices and the number of positive gender equality outcomes, comparing gender equality outcomes in the two subsamples in more detail indicated fewer significant differences.