Quantitative increases tell a partial story about the quality of women's participation in higher education. Women students' reporting of sexual harassment has been noteworthy in a recent study that I directed on widening participation in higher education in Ghana and Tanzania. The hierarchical and gendered power relations within universities have naturalised a sexual contract in which some male academics consider it a right to demand sex with female students in return for grades. These practices of transactional sex involve spatial and cognitive injustice as they contribute to social pressures for women reflexively to minimise their visibility and academic performance. The construction of female sexuality as a commodity and an object of barter also produces negative female learner identities. If women fail, this is evidence of lack of academic abilities and preparedness for higher education. If they achieve, this is attributed to women's ‘favoured’ position in gendered academic markets.
Morley, L. Sex, grades and power in higher education in Ghana and Tanzania. Cambridge Journal of Education (2011) 41 (1) 101-115. [DOI: 10.1080/0305764X.2010.549453]