Gender on Ice: Leadership for women in STEMM in a neoliberal, post-feminist context


Friday Seminar Series

Start Date

12th May 2017 1:00pm

End Date

12th May 2017 2:00pm


Room 586, Social Sciences Building, Sandy Bay campus

RSVP / Contact Information

No RSVP required - Enquiries: or 62262350

Presented by

Dr Meredith Nash, University of Tasmania

Women are underrepresented in science, technology, engineering, mathematics and medicine (STEMM) fields worldwide, particularly in leadership positions. In this presentation, Dr Nash will discuss her findings from a mixed-methods study on the leadership experiences of 25 women in STEMM fields who were all participants in a three-week transformational leadership program in Antarctica in 2016. Drawing on pre-program data, Dr Nash uses intersectional analysis to examine how categories of identity have shaped the participants’ experiences of science leadership. She argues that women in this study seemed to be caught in an ideological dilemma between recognising sexism and gender bias in their organisational contexts and seeing their organisations as gender neutral. Considering this dilemma through the lens of Berlant’s (2006) conception of ‘cruel optimism’, she argues that a post-feminist climate and a neoliberal ethic of meritocracy in science problematically bind women to a fantasy of success in which leadership is only attainable through arduous effort.

Dr Meredith Nash is a senior Lecturer in Sociology at the University of Tasmania.