Women in leadership
Gender inequality in higher education is evident in the low number of women in leadership positions.
Career progression in higher education is often related to research and research leadership and men are 3 times more likely than women to reach the top in research-oriented institutions. In 2015, only 21% of full professors in the EU 28 (including the UK) were women. Since these groups represent the pool of those eligible to become rectors, it is not surprising that in 2017, only 21.7% of the heads of higher education institutions at EU-level were women. Despite female students generally outnumber male students, there is a wide disparity between different subject areas: while men are underrepresented in teaching, women are underrepresented in STEM subjects (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics). In the latter, the attrition rate for women increases at each level of higher education, leaving only 11% of women at the top level.
To address gender inequality in leadership, a summary and state of the art report will be developed as part of the SMILE project. Besides, one section of the audit model which allows HEIs to self-reflect on how they are addressing diversity, will address women leadership. A CPD course will be designed for both academic and non-academic university staff to understand the challenges of women face trying to reach leadership positions in higher education, with the objective that they later explain the situation to students or alumni. Finally, a set of policy recommendations will provide institutional leaders and decision makers with ideas on how to implement changes and promote women leadership.