Experience of Research Undertaking among Women Academia at Addis Ababa University: a Qualitative Study
Background: As a pioneer University in the Country, Addis Ababa University engages itself in collaborative and local research undertakings along with teaching, community engagements and technology transfer. Despite its long engagement in research, the participation of women academia in research is limited as manifested by their low research productivity in terms of publication in peer-reviewed scientific journals. However, the reasons for their low research participation are less known and needs further exploration.
Objective: To explore the experience of research undertakings among women academia at Addis Ababa University.
Method: We conducted an exploratory qualitative study using a phenomenological approach among women academia. Eight women who have been working in the University with a rank of a lecturer having at least two years participated in in-depth interviews. We used NVivo10 software to code and categorize the transcripts.
Result: Our study revealed that only a few senior informants with more than 10 years of stay at the University had a better experience in applying for national and international research grants. Although all the participants said they had ever undertaken research, their publication track in peer-reviewed journals is limited. Social and economic factors, lack of networking, low salary and family responsibility, limited internet and library access, and lack of research skill among young faculty were raised as impediments to undertake research.
Conclusion: This study has indicated that women in academia had limited research engagement in terms of grant application and publication in peer reviewed scientific journals. Balancing work and family life, low salary, lack of access to common University facilities were some of the challenges. While structural change ensures gender equality at a long time, addressing the gender gap in research is the responsibility of AAU. [Ethiop. J. Health Dev. 2021; 35(SI-2):22-29]
Keywords: Addis Ababa University, experience of research, women in academia