February 22, 2024

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Equal Opportunity: Unbalanced Equal Opportunity Measures in Universities

The authors of a new report on Equal Opportunity warn that universities must tackle existing gender inequalities in science with more balanced measures. The programs that have been introduced in many places to promote women – for example to get more female students and researchers in STEM subjects – do not fall short, and the report editors, the British online magazine Times Higher Education and the UNESCO International Institute for Higher Education in Latin America have criticized and the Caribbean (IESALC).

For example, recent data from more than 2,000 universities around the world shows that women are not underrepresented in all STEM subjects. This still applies to computer science and technology, which currently averages 26 and 27 percent of female students, but no longer applies to life sciences or physics (57 and 45 percent of female students). By contrast, in nursing-related disciplines such as psychology, education, clinical subjects, and health sciences, students are in the minority and sometimes more visible than women in STEM subjects. However, gender equality measures are somewhat rare there.

More differentiated equality measures are required

According to the editors, discussions and measures of gender equality in science should be conducted in a more differentiated manner and trends should be examined in more detail. There is a lack of understanding that not only women, but also men make their own career decisions that are shaped by sexual beliefs and traditional gender roles, quotes Katharina Blok, associate professor of social psychology at the University of Amsterdam, who researches gender segregation in labor markets. . At the same time, society’s appreciation of care-oriented majors must increase so that they can be taken into greater consideration in universities’ equal opportunity measures.

who was released on friday Report “Gender Equality: The Performance of World Universities – Part 2” is the successor to the first partial report On Gender Equality, which the authors published in March. In it, they acknowledged global progress and the high profile of gender equality in universities, especially in Asia and Oceania.

But they also criticized, among other things, that equity measures, which universities are so proud of in many places, are often poorly documented and implemented. Universities also focus more on providing access and support to women than measuring their progress and achievement. This leads to the current situation that although there is roughly parity at the student level in universities around the world, there are fewer and fewer women as career progresses.