Louise von Essen participated in seminar on gender equality in academia

2021-09-17

Yesterday, U-CARE’s Program Director Louise von Essen participated in a seminar on gender equality in academia, arranged by the Swedish Research Council. The seminar was about the new report ‘How equal is it in higher education?´.

Screenshot of the seminar on Youtube
Louise von Essen, Professor in Caring Sciences, and Carlotta Canalias Gomez, Professor in Applied Physics, commented on the report based on their experiences in each research area. 

Obstacles on the road to gender equality
The report shows that women and men in Sweden to about the same extent choose to leave university, and that the proportion of women who reach professorship increases in all research fields. If the development continues as today, an equal number of women and men can be professors in 25 years.

At the same time, today it takes longer for women than men to reach professorship. According to the report, this is due to two main reasons. First, women are to a greater extent active in research fields with a higher proportion of teaching, which makes it harder to achieve scientific merit. Second, women in all research fields describe experiences of not being invited, seen, heard or referred to. Additionally, the report points out that fewer women than men have access to a mentor.

Fair assessment of merits
During the seminar, Louise von Essen emphasized the need to be able to measure scientific merits based on other aspects than just publications in order to achieve gender equality. She also called for increased transparency in the assessment of merits.

Another aspect that Louise von Essen highlighted during the seminar was the risks of male networks being replaced by female networks.

– Basically, this is about good work of high quality should pay off. Being part of a network should not pay off, and relationships should not be as important to success in academia as it is today, said Louise von Essen.

One way to counteract the importance of networks and relationships could be to appoint management positions from outside. Louise von Essen:Logga Vetenskapsrådet

– I think that the universities should consider bringing in managers from outside, perhaps from other research areas. That could increase the opportunity for both women and men to achieve success in a fair way.

You can see the recorded seminar here (in Swedish).

Click here to read the report ‘How equal is it in higher education? The conditions for women and men to conduct research’. The report is written by Stina Gerdes Barriere, Lisbeth Söderqvist, and Johan Fröberg.

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Last modified: 2022-05-25