Exploring gender and race amongst female sociologists exiting academia in South Africa

Marlize Rabe, Pragna Rugunanan

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

15 Citations (Scopus)


This article explores issues of gender and race in the academic careers of female sociologists in South Africa by focusing on selected women who left academic departments in higher education institutions. In-depth interviews were conducted with 11 participants who left various Sociology departments at different times. It was found that young black female academics dwelled on issues of race in their careers, but paid scant attention to gender. Older white female academics, especially those who had been in senior positions, focused on gender issues, with only brief comments on racial issues. It is argued that racial challenges overshadow gender challenges for black female academics in South Africa and that gender discrimination is only experienced once women reach more senior academic positions. A minority status in academic departments contributes to experiences of racial or gender discrimination, although demographic changes within departments do not necessarily lead to the eradication thereof.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)553-566
Number of pages14
JournalGender and Education
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - Aug 2012


  • South Africa
  • academic careers
  • gender
  • higher education
  • race
  • sociology

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Gender Studies
  • Education


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