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By Kirsten Harley, Gary Wickham (auth.)

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By this way of thinking, which is a way of thinking readily employed by university authorities, sociology’s survival is well deserved. Gender balance: a trend towards feminization The body of data on the gender of sociology students and staff is also patchy and incomplete, but even with these constraints the data paint a clear picture of a discipline which has allowed and/or encouraged the participation of women, as students and as academic staff members. A discipline which was dominated by men in 1959 now has more female students than male students and has more women than men in academic posts at all levels, though only marginally so at the senior levels.

The discipline’s future looked very bright for the first part of the period, then not quite so bright, then bright again after the 1988 Dawkins reforms, then not so bright again in the early part of the twenty-first century. We would like to say that the discipline is, in the second decade of the new century, about to run into another sustained burst of sunshine, but that would be foolhardy. The climate for all disciplines in Australia as we write this book is bleak, with the aftermath of the global financial crisis forcing both the federal government and most of the state governments into belt-tightening moods.

Despite its title this group was not primarily concerned with the direct interests of sociologists as academics, so it is not surprising that a few years later the academics involved looked beyond the Canberra Society to promote what they saw as their professional interests. D. (Mick) Borrie, the demographer/sociologist from the ANU mentioned earlier, took the initiative and organized a meeting in 1963 to determine whether there was sufficient interest among the professional or would-be-professional sociologists of the Canberra Society in the prospect of joining with sociologists in New Zealand to pursue joint concerns.

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