Beard backs calls for more females in Academia

More than 50 senior Cambridge academics have called for a more ‘inclusive’ selection process for senior research positions.

academics Cambridge dame athene donald equality Exclusive mary beard tab cambridge women

The call, published yesterday in Times Higher Education, argued that ‘more should be done to broaden how we judge and value success in UK higher education’.

The group argues that the steps currently required to become an academic professor, gain publications in academic journals and receive research grants unfairly advantage men. They want ‘a broader, more inclusive approach to success and promotion’ which takes into consideration teaching, administration and outreach work.

The most recent figures suggest only 15% of professors at Cambridge are female. This is lower than the 19% average for Russell Group universities.

In fact, women have only been permitted to be full members of the University since 1948.

Bridging old gaps in inequality

Even today opportunities for women in top educational institutions remain limited. Female professors are outnumbered 5 to 1 by their male counterparts in UK universities, despite the fact that women currently make up 45% of the workforce.

Speaking exclusively to The Tab, Professor Mary Beard seemed encouraged:

“I think that it is great that senior members of the university are thinking actively about women, promotion and how we evaluate academic careers.

“There has been a revolution since I was an undergraduate (when only 12% of students were women). We can be proud of the changes we have brought about but there is still more to do.”

However it isn’t just women whose cause will be improved by the implementation of these reforms; the group concluded their argument by stating that their suggested reforms will benefit ‘society as a whole.’

Dame Donald is just one of many high profile academics to call for reform

Professor Dame Athene Donald, gender equality champion at Cambridge insisted:

“If universities inhibit the progression of talented female staff, they in turn are unable to reach their full potential.”