The reverse engagement gap: gender differences in external engagement among UK academics

Cornelia Lawson, Ammon Salter

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Citation (SciVal)


Examining academics’ engagement with non-academics in industry, public agencies and charities, this paper examines gender gaps between men and women. Using a large-scale survey of UK academics, we find that although there is difference between women and men in the commercial areas of engagement, with men being more active in this domain than their women colleagues of a similar age and experience and of the same rank, discipline, and university, this pattern is reversed for academic engagement with the third sector, with women more likely to engage with charities, regardless of career stage and research field. We explore the gendered nature of academic engagement, and discuss policy implications arising from it.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)695-706
Number of pages12
JournalStudies in Higher Education
Issue number5
Early online date7 Mar 2023
Publication statusPublished - 31 Dec 2023

Bibliographical note

The authors acknowledge support from the Arts and Humanities Research Council, the Department for Business, Innovation, Skills, the Economic and Social Research Council, the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council, the Higher Education Funding Council for England, the Medical Research Council, and the Natural Environment Research Council and the National Centre for Universities and Business (NCUB). An early preview of this research was published in the NCUB State of the Relationship Report 2017. Cornelia Lawson acknowledges support through the University of Manchester Research Recovery Fund.

Supplemental data for this article can be accessed online at


  • Gender
  • academic engagement
  • academic entrepreneurship
  • third sector engagement
  • women in science

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Education


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