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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Grant numbers 281862