The Practical Process of Gender Mainstreaming in the Political Science Curriculum

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Although the presence of women in the political science profession has increased rapidly since the 1980s, women still constitute less than 30% of the political science faculty nationwide and are more likely to find themselves in lower-paying and/or nontenure track positions (APSA 2011, 39; Evans and Moulder 2011). In the discipline, the position of gender and politics as a legitimate course of study has improved markedly since the 1970s (Lovenduski 1998; Mackay 2004; Murphy 2010; Tolleson-Rinehart and Carroll 2006). As Childs and Krook (2006, 19) point out, “mainstream editors, publishers and conference conveners no longer feel able to ignore the work of feminist political scientists.” But they also present evidence that this improvement stops short of full incorporation into the discipline and note that there is still skepticism about the value of feminist scholarship. This skepticism is also present at the intersection of the profession and discipline: while there are no systematic data on the employment of gender and politics scholars, it is not rare for a gender and politics scholar to be told that her employment prospects would be better if she were to research something else (Childs and Krook 2006). Given the position of women in the profession and the status of gender and politics in the discipline, it is unsurprising that there is continued resistance to integrating gender into mainstream political science education (Baldez 2010; Lovenduski 2005; Murphy 2010).