Women in Academia: Tips From Your Peers

Academic-Book-Week-logoThis week of April 23 to 28 marks Academic Book Week, a celebration of the diversity, innovation and influence of academic books. This year’s Academic Book Week also sees the launch of 20 Academic Books by Women that Changed the World. Chosen by academic booksellers, publishers and librarians, academicians and academics has been announced and a public vote is now open to find the one text that has been most influential — cast your vote now!

In a year where the focus on issues of gender has been heightened around the world, and with academia in no way excluded, it is important to open up discussions about where issues lie for women, what barriers they have faced and to share examples of how they have navigated these issues to progress in their careers. This is why for Academic Book Week, SAGE Publishing, the parent of Social Science Space, asked some of its authors and editors for their top tips for women in academia:

Vivienne Porritt, National Leader of WomenEd and SAGE author:

  • Find out whether there is a women’s network and join it.
  • Be 10 percent braver and talk with both academics and professional staff.
  • Be on Twitter, it’s a great way to connect with other women in the academic world.


Irena Grugulis, author of A Very Short, Fairly Interesting and Reasonably Cheap Book About Human Resource Management

  • You may not win all the battles, but just fighting them may make it easier for someone else.
  • Keep writing. Keep writing. Just keep writing and publish it in the best place you can.


Julie Hodges, co-author of Sustaining Change in Organizations

  • Build your brand – have something distinctive to say if you want to be heard and remembered.
  • Build your portfolio – manage your profile on LinkedIn, GoogleScholar, ResearchGate, Academia.edu, and other places where researchers will look.
  • Embrace the autonomy of academia – manage your own time effectively and keep focused on what is important.
  • Find an academic mentor – you will need someone to help you find your way through the maze of academia.


Kate Huppatz, co-editor Journal of Sociology

  • Men often benefit from social networks. My advice to women is to seek out mentors and a community of peers who will support you and read your work.
  • Don’t feel pressured to publish too often and too quickly, developing and refining your ideas and writing takes time!


Lynne Eagle, co-author of Marketing Ethics & Society

  • Beware of those who claim to be prospective mentors who are primarily interested in getting their names on your work rather than helping you advance!
  • Never be afraid to ask for advice or help – nor to politely decline help from those who think they are experts in everything!
  • As your career advances, give help to others and consider mentoring others, but remember that some people are ‘unmentorable’.
  • You should continue to develop new knowledge and expertise throughout your academic career.  It is one of the fun parts of the job.


Ann Gallagher, editor of Nursing Ethics

  • Seek advice and support from female academics who are positive role models.
  • Find a female academic mentor and arrange regular meetings to find out as much as possible about academic life and career progression and to have guidance on how best to proceed.
  • Identify and develop your academic ‘niche’ – we cannot be great at everything so it is far preferable to focus on one area in depth. If a niche areas is under-developed this provides opportunity for you to develop the topic area.
  • Publish, publish, publish – start small with letters to Editors, comment pieces, editorials and on to high quality peer-reviewed articles, preferably in your niche area so you get known for this.
  • Develop strategies to contribute to academic conversations – often asking questions is a good way to proceed as a novice academic.
  • Remember that academic work is not fast. Developing good research and scholarship takes time, effort and creativity.

SAGE is also asking you to share inspiring stories of women in academia who have influenced you in your career. Tweet us @SAGE_News with your stories!

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SAGE Publishing, the parent of Social Science Space, is a leading international publisher of journals, books, and electronic media for academic, educational, and professional markets. An independent company, SAGE has principal offices in Los Angeles, London, New Delhi, Singapore, Melbourne and Washington DC.

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