Only One in Five UK University Professors Are Women: More than fifty academics at the University of Cambridge are calling for a change to the way in which senior appointments are made in an effort to counteract the current lack of female professors. As it stands, only around one in five (22%) of UK university professors are women. The Cambridge academics taking the stand have said that appointments should consider things other than academic publications – such as outreach work and teaching ability.
The 2012-13 figures, taken from the Higher Education Statistics Agency (Hesa), suggest that although 45% of all academic staff are female, the vast majority of professors (78%) are men. This is despite the fact that women are more likely to enter university as undergraduates – with the latest Ucas admissions figures showing the 58% of applicants were female.
The academics from Cambridge University, who are set to publish their argument in an open letter to the Times Higher Education, argue that ‘a broader, more inclusive approach’ is needed to identify success and those deserving of a promotion to a senior position.
Professor Dame Athene Donald, gender equality champion at the University of Cambridge, said that a recent survey of 126 female academics has shown that women tend to value a broader ‘spectrum of work-based competencies that do not flourish easily under the current system.’
However, Professor Donald also stated that there would always be a place for hardcore metrics relating to academic output – including grants, prizes won, books, papers and articles published – and that those metrics ‘are important’. The major aim of the new proposals are to also embed other types of success alongside these and ensure that all staff members reach their full potential.
Cambridge University is currently carrying out research aimed at improving its own gender imbalances.
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