Gender distribution beyond coarse measurements

Balancing gender distribution in professor positions at UiT from 2020 onwards


UiT The Arctic University of Norway has built a strong tradition of promoting gender balance within the institution. After decades of research and systematic measures, the university has increased the share of women in professor positions from 9% in 2000 to almost 40% in 2020. Today, UiT leads the national ranking in that category, being the university with highest representation of women in professor positions among the comprehensive Higher Education institutions in Norway. While this is a great achievement for the institution, Prestige Project calls, in this report, for a cautious interpretation of these results. While almost 40% of women hold professor positions at the university level, great disparities remain within and across knowledge fields and disciplines. A more nuanced view on the data shows that as of January 2020, 82% of the professor positions in the STEM fields at UiT were still held by men (NT and IVT Faculties combined). In addition, the overrepresentation of women in the fields commonly associated with female activities such as social sciences, care, and education have inflated the overall results for the better.

This report argues that the measurements of proportion of women and men in professor positions at the university level is a limited tool for a meaningful monitoring of gender balance in these positions at the university. This is because this metric does not allow for the monitoring of disparities within and across the different fields of knowledge and disciplines constituting the broad educational and research portfolio of the institution, neither for evaluating the effects of interventions at the units’ level. These limitations show that there is a need for more precise indicators for enabling the monitoring and evaluation of significant progress/deterioration in gender balance. In this perspective, a more precise metric can better serve as guidance for the generation of effective and more gender-aware management practices at the institution. Prestige Project proposes in this report an alternative metric that intends to better respond to this need: the scatterplot for gender balance in professor positions at UiT. 


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Author Biographies

Melina Duarte , UiT The Arctic University of Norway

Melina Duarte is an internationally educated analytical philosopher with expertise in the areas of moral and political philosophy. Her research interests center on diversity integration and inclusion of minorities with focus on migration and gender. Duarte is Associate Professor of Ethics at the Department of Philosophy and Researcher at the Centre for Women’s and Gender Research at UiT The Arctic University of Norway. She coordinates the Prestige Project. 

Adrianna Kochanska , UiT The Arctic University of Norway

Adrianna Kochanska is the leader of the work package on quantitative research in the Prestige Project and a Researcher at BRIDGE research group at UiT The Arctic University of Norway. Kochanska’s background is in economics and international fisheries management with research interests in sustainable production and utilization of marine resources and expertise in data analysis and R-coding.

Torill Nustad , UiT The Arctic University of Norway

Torill Nustad is a sociologist with expertise in the promotion of gender equality, diversity and inclusion in organizations. Her extensive practical experience in the field builds on her leadership to one of the academic trade unions and on her work on organizing Promotion Projects over several years at the UiT The Arctic University of Norway. Nustad is a Senior Advisor at the Division of Organization and Finance at UiT and a key member of the Equality and Diversity Committee and Prestige Project.


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