The Impact of Gender and Ethnicity on the Opportunities of Ethnic Minority Women in the Serbian Higher Education System

This study aims to examine the opportunities of women belonging to three ethnic minorities—Hungarian, Slovak, and Romanian—in the Serbian higher education system in the light of career building and obtaining decision-making positions (rector, vice-rector, dean, management department, etc.). The author seeks answers to two questions: what difficulties do ethnic minority women face in building a university career, and whether they can hold academic positions in the university hierarchy. The analysis is based on sixteen semi-structured interviews with Hungarian, Slovak, and Romanian female university staff members in Serbia, with intersectionality as the theoretical framework and method. The analysis of the interviews showed that the majority of respondents think that women from minority communities face difficulties in building a university career due to invisible barriers. However, the respondents were confident that women from the above-mentioned minority communities can hold decision-making positions in the Serbian higher education system, but the analysis showed that these women could reach decision-making positions within their own ethnic enclaves, especially in female-dominated departments, without particular difficulty. But, with this exception, higher positions are rarely available to them.