Navigation Links
Women professorships low in some Scandinavian universities due to sexism
Date:7/16/2012

Despite a global reputation for gender equality, certain Scandinavian countries disadvantage female scholars with sexist attitudes towards 'women-friendly' work policies.

These are the findings of a new study on equality in universities in Denmark, Norway and Sweden, where the share of professorships among women are below the European average.

The research, which reveals female academics' perceptions of sex equality, hiring and discrimination, has been carried out by Professor Geraldine Healy at Queen Mary, University of London and Catherine Seierstad at Brunel University.

Key findings of the paper Women's equality in the Scandinavian academy: a distant dream?:

  • Persistent sexism in universities, particularly at professor level
  • A 'glass ceiling' affects women academics from taking senior roles
  • Welfare provision, which focuses on mother as carer, has the unintended consequences of limiting women's development opportunities
  • Career progress for women of childbearing age is impacted by negative perceptions within academia
  • Women academics with children are often burdened with the 'lion's share' of domestic duties, forcing them to sacrifice their career development compared to male counterparts

"The findings suggest inequality regimes in Scandinavian universities conspire to limit women's aspirations or ensure that women pay a higher price for success than men do," says Professor Healy, from the School of Business and Management.

"This study reveals that some Scandinavian countries may have more of a 'glass ceiling' for women in academia than many of their European counterparts, with men continuing to dominate senior roles."

Scandinavian countries are deemed the most equal in the world, and have the most established welfare model. Their governments have introduced many 'women-friendly' policies including affordable day care and paid maternity leave to enable Scandinavian parents to balance work and family life.

Such rights go some way to explaining the high proportion of Scandinavian women in the labour market. However, Professor Healy argues that the welfare benefits offered by the Scandinavian system, in fact "may work against women when it comes to promotion opportunities". "This makes poor business sense when significant talent is excluded from career development opportunities," she warns.

"Given their high equality ranking it might reasonably be expected that Scandinavian women would be well represented in academic hierarchies, for example, however our research found marked differences between the countries."

The majority of respondents in a survey of women academics in three Scandinavian universities were aged 30 to 49, had children (69 per cent) and came from a range of academic disciplines. The sample encompasses a group of women, over two-thirds of whom are managing a dual career as mother and academic.

Sweden is in sixth place and Norway in 12th in the proportion of academics who are women, whereas Denmark, in 20th place, is below the EU average. As many as 80 per cent of respondents stated that there was no sex equality in their universities, with Swedish women most likely to give a negative response (94 per cent) followed by the Danes (83 per cent). Over half believed that women had to work harder than men to achieve. Women professors were most likely to have experienced discrimination when applying for positions.

"That women professors were most likely to have experienced discrimination is unsurprising," says Professor Healy, "by seeking promotion they have put themselves in a specific arena of discrimination."

Interestingly, Norwegian academics were least likely to have experienced discrimination and were more likely to aim high. Norway generally tends to score highest on international equality polls.

Where examples of discrimination were given, they related to women being of child-bearing age. Professor Healy says: "Those who perceive Scandinavian countries as closer to a gender utopia fail to recognise that women are still judged according to their potential or actual reproductive capacity.

"The welfare provision, which focuses on mother as carer, has the unintended consequences of limiting women's development opportunities. The likelihood of young women taking parental leave, for example, is used to favour the appointment of men.

"Therefore informal practices in many cases supersede formal equality policies and leads to the undervaluing of women's talent, which not only damages the university but reinforces men's domination of the hierarchies."

Many respondents also reported that their career development is constrained by 'choices' between home and work, which may result from Scandinavian women's experience of an unequal division of labour in the home.

Reported strategies for managing careers for some women meant leaving academia whereas others sought to plateau their careers while their children were young. This is a common approach, according to Professor Healy, but one with "inherent dangers for women academics who are later penalised for having made insufficient progress in the same time period as a male colleague".

"While there has been an upsurge in equality strategies and action plans, it is yet to be seen if these strategies will challenge sex inequalities in universities in Scandinavian countries or whether a more egalitarian equilibrium remains a distant dream," she warns.

While gendered inequality regimes are common in universities, including the UK, what places this study apart is that it is set in countries deemed the most equal.


'/>"/>

Contact: Emma Lowry
e.lowry@qmul.ac.uk
44-207-882-5378
Queen Mary, University of London
Source:Eurekalert

Related medicine news :

1. 20% of U.S. Women Uninsured in 2010, Up From 15% in 2000: Report
2. Study Ties Chemicals in Beauty Products to Womens Diabetes Risk
3. Chemicals in personal care products may increase risk of diabetes in women
4. Twenty percent of US women were uninsured in 2010, up from 15 percent in 2000
5. Moderate Drinking May Cut Womens Odds for Rheumatoid Arthritis: Study
6. UC Davis study finds stray-bullet shootings frequently harm women and children
7. New CDC study on racial disparities in infant mortality published in Journal of Womens Health
8. New survey shows patient concerns and misinformation impede treatment of menopausal women
9. Iron supplements can reduce fatigue in nonanemic women
10. Higher Doses of Vitamin D Prevent Fractures in Older Women
11. The US Drug Watchdog Now Warns Time Could Run Out to Get Women Yaz or Yasmin Birth Control Pill Users Identified if they Suffered a Heart Attack Stroke or a Embolism
Post Your Comments:
*Name:
*Comment:
*Email:
(Date:9/25/2017)... ... September 25, 2017 , ... ... announced today the addition of an affiliate in Minneapolis-St. Paul, MN, Dr. Adam ... accelerated detox, Naltrexone therapy and aftercare planning through his Timewise Medical practice in ...
(Date:9/25/2017)... ... 2017 , ... SyncDog, Inc., the leading ISV ... will be available in a managed cloud services model, available from its new ... new enhancements including support for caller ID and network sharing for remote users, ...
(Date:9/25/2017)... Church, VA (PRWEB) , ... September 25, 2017 ... ... & Trump, **An FDAnews Webinar**, Oct. 12, 2017 — 1:30 p.m. – 3:00 ... off to a running start. Just look what’s happened in four short months:, ...
(Date:9/25/2017)... ... September 25, 2017 , ... The award is named in honor of Betty ... year the award is given to those who exemplify the mission of Community Options ... in communities of their choosing. Recent recipients of this award include Governor Tom Kean, ...
(Date:9/25/2017)... ... September 25, 2017 , ... Just ask anyone old enough ... or 1980s, with headgear so wired up and containing so much metal that jokes ... so discreet that its treatments can barely be observed. As a result, it’s now ...
Breaking Medicine News(10 mins):
(Date:9/19/2017)... , Sept. 19, 2017 HistoSonics, Inc., a venture-backed medical device company developing ... of targeted tissues, announced three leadership team developments today:   ... ... ... Veteran medical device executive Josh Stopek ...
(Date:9/18/2017)... Sept. 18, 2017 EpiVax, Inc. ... bioinformatics and immune engineering, today announced a ... A (H7N9) vaccine. ... seasonal influenza and presents a challenge for ... exposure to be effective. Using state-of-the-art bioinformatics and ...
(Date:9/12/2017)... 2017  Consumer reviews on the independent review site Consumer ... one company for hearing aids, ranking it higher than Miracle ... ... Consumers For Hearing Aids ... an online store that provides high performance, state-of-the-art, German-engineered hearing aids ...
Breaking Medicine Technology: