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

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