Women inside and outside Academia: A struggle to access knowledge, legitimacy and influence

Patrizia Romito, Chiara Volpato

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Starting from the observation that women still represent a minority in the higher echelons of universities and scientific institutions, the article discusses a number of strategies used to "keep them out". Historically the main strategy was to refuse to admit women. This refusal was accompanied by discourses devaluing women's intellectual capacities, while stressing their domestic and motherly duties, and by the actual burdening of women with these duties. When women succeeded in entering universities, subsequent strategies have been the appropriation by men of women's scientific production, sexual harassment (going as far as physical elimination) and anti-feminist intellectual harassment. Notwithstanding this strong opposition, during the last 30 years scientific production by women and feminists has been extensive, of high quality and innovative. This knowledge has advanced our understanding of important scientific and social problems, benefited both men and women, and contributed in some cases to a limitation of traditional male privileges.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)41-63
Number of pages23
JournalSocial Science Information
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Mar 2005


  • Anti-feminist intellectual harassment
  • Appropriation of women's work
  • Discrimination against women
  • Feminist scientific production
  • Sexual harassment

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Social Sciences(all)
  • Library and Information Sciences


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