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Special Issue: Gender and Masculinities in Careers and Leadership in Higher Education
Published: 23-04-2018

The Triple Whammy: Gendered Careers of Geographically Marginalised Academic STEM Women

The Open University

Clem Herman

Clem Herman is a Senior Lecturer in the Department of Computing and Communications at the Open University in the UK. She has worked as an educator, practitioner and researcher to support women in ICT and other science, engineering and technology sectors. Clem’s research has been about the employability and careers of women SET professionals and in particular the impact of maternity and career breaks and she is currently working on an ESRC funded project Gender Skilled Migration and IT: A comparative study of UK and India
The Open University
Gendered careers academia STEM liminality visibility remote working


In this paper we explore how gender, non-standard job roles as well as location create a triple whammy affecting the visibility and therefore the career paths of women STEM academics. Drawing on data from interviews and surveys at a distributed university with locations across the UK, we examine the experiences of a group of ‘Regional Academics’ who are located at a distance from the main university campus, either in regional centres or as homeworkers, and show how gender intersects with distance and status to exacerbate inequalities. In their narrative accounts, they describe themselves as the ‘glue that hold the bits of the university together’, mediating between part-time tutors, students and other academics and researchers. We explore how career progression has been limited for these liminal academics, but how small steps to increase visibility and provide recognition for achievement can result in strategies that overcome these inherent obstacles.

How to Cite

Herman, C., & Hilliam, R. (2018). The Triple Whammy: Gendered Careers of Geographically Marginalised Academic STEM Women. International Journal of Gender, Science and Technology, 10(1), 171–189. Retrieved from