UCL School of Management

27 February 2020

Female academics need to embrace competition

Woman in all white sat on a bench with people stood around. Blue hue to the picture.

Image: Getty via Times Higher Education

It is well known that women are under-represented in senior academic positions in most if not all countries. In UK business and management fields, for instance, only 20 per cent of senior academics are women, and this proportion is far from an outlier.

A number of academic institutions have responded by trying to reduce bias in the way they hire and promote. For example, many UK universities have made it obligatory for their staffing committees to be at least 30 per cent female, and many arrange diversity and unconscious bias training sessions for staff involved in recruitment or promotion decisions. Moreover, the Athena SWAN gender equality initiative encourages them to hire more women to senior academic positions.

This is all very welcome, but recent research in which Dr Sun Young (Sunny) Lee has participated in suggests that it may not be enough – because bias is not the whole story.

You can read all of her thoughts in her article in the Times Higher Education.

Last updated Thursday, 27 February 2020