Vice-Chancellor speaks out on gender inequality in universities at international conference

Our President and Vice-Chancellor Professor Paul Boyle has addressed the issue of gender inequality in universities at an international conference in Cape Town, South Africa.

With 800 heads of state, government ministers and university leaders present at the British Council’s ‘Going Global’ conference, Professor Boyle discussed the integral role universities play in tackling gender inequality and described the University’s prominent role in identifying means by which the gender gap in academia can be closed.

Professor Boyle said: “Universities are particularly appropriate to be part of this.

“First, we have a job to do on our own campuses.  We, like South Africa, have some pretty stark figures. Half of my academic staff are women but less than 25 per cent of professors are women. It is changing, but it is calculated it will take about 40 years before women will equal men in professorial positions within the UK if the rate of change carries on as it does now. If we allow it to take 40 years it effectively means we are asking the next generation to deal with it instead of stepping up ourselves.

“There is no good reason why women should be under-represented in senior posts.”

The University is one of only ten higher education institutions worldwide which actively participates in addressing gender inequality through the HeForShe campaign, a United Nations initiative which seeks to invite men to take responsibility, and work with women, to fight for gender equality.

More extensive report outlining views from other key figures is available here.