More Woman Professors to Come

More Woman Professors to Come

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@Casper Danielsson

Today, women are in the vast majority among students at Swedish universities – but higher in the hierarchy, men still dominate. Now, the government want to address this, and promise stronger measures, according to Swedish Television.

Among students, women greatly outnumber men. In the autumn semester of 2014, 59% of all students were women, according to an annual report issued by the Swedish Higher Education Authority. But the higher you look in the academic hierarchy, the more uneven is the balance.

The demand to be added to governmental regulation

In 2014, 49% of those granted a PhD in Swedish seats of learning were women; but that is where the equality stops. Among professors, only 25% are women, according to numbers from 2014.

The inequality is hardly a new issue, but now, the government and Helene Hellmark Knutsson promise to take harder action. In an interview with Swedish Television, SVT, the minister of higher education and research states that half of all new professor positions should be held by women by the year 2030. This demand is nationally valid, and will be added to the governmental regulations issued to universities.

LU just as bad
Lund University do not differ from others; only 25% of professors are women today. But Vice-Chancellor Torbjörn von Schantz has promised measures to address the inequality.

“Lund University is an authority that is equality-integrated, but the work ahead will demand measures on many levels. This [gender inequality in professor positions, Ed.] seem to indicate a fault in the system,” he said in a press conference held to address gender equality at the University.

In February, the University Board decided that the University should be completely equal by the year 2020. However, the goal proved to be much too ambitious and in practice, unachievable – especially concerning the professor positions.

New goal: 28 percent by 2020
According to Vice-Chancellor von Schantz, though, this is a question that is discussed increasingly in the University management, and the University will create a full-time position to address the equality issues. The position will be divided between three people and will be a blowlamp in equality work at Lund University, he said.

But the University will set its own, fixed, recruitment-goals for professor positions. By the year 2020, at least 40 percent of all new professors should be women, Torbjörn von Schantz suggested.

This would mean that 28% of all professors would be women by the year 2020 – a number far from the 40% that are stipulated to make the group officially gender-integrated.

“We must be on a reasonable level, and I do not think it would be achievable having higher ambitions,” Torbjörn von Schantz explained during the press conference.

“Not be hypnotised by numbers”
But he also believed that it was not only about the number of women represented; it is also about what environment the University offers.

“The most important thing is not to have a 50/50-split on the working side, we must also have a work environment in which women work as much [as] and are equal to men. We must not be hypnotised by numbers,” he said.

The decision on what the new recruitments of professors will look like in the future will be made in June this year. 

Translation: Richard Helander

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