Few professorships in female-dominated study programmes

The female-dominated study programmes at public university colleges have far fewer professorships than the male-dominated ones. Those professorships that do exist are mainly held by men. This is revealed in a recent survey from the Norwegian Social Science Data Services. The figures are collected on behalf of the Committee for Mainstreaming – Women in Science.

October 31, 2008

The female-dominated study programmes at public university colleges have far fewer professorships than the male-dominated ones (photo illustration: colourbox.no).

Statistics show that the health and social sciences have almost twice as many academic posts as technological subjects, while the number of professorships is the same. Thus, compared to the number of academic posts technological subjects have nearly twice as many professorships, and more than 97 per cent of these are held by men. Professorships within the health and social sciences are somewhat more evenly distributed; 31 per cent of the professors are women.

A confirmation

If we look at the institutions on a whole, there are a few more women than men in academic positions: Women hold 50, 4 per cent and men hold 49, 6 per cent. Amongst the professors the situation is different: Only one out of five is a woman.

“The institution management is responsible for distributing academic posts. We asked ourselves if public university colleges establish more professorships in male-dominated fields of study. These numbers confirm our theory,” says Linda Rustad. She is a senior adviser at the Norwegian Association of Higher Education Institutions and works for the Committee for Mainstreaming – Women in Science.

Students

Head of the Committee for Mainstreaming, Gerd Bjørhovde, says it is worth noticing the fact that technological subjects have been favoured.

“Both the corporate world and the authorities want to focus on technology and the natural sciences. But we can’t forget that the health and social sciences are very important elements of a society. The large number of women within this field must not lead to their being ignored,” she says.

She states that the imbalance between the health and social sciences and technological subjects is even worse when the student body is taken into account.

“After all, twice as many students graduate from the health and social sciences than from technological subjects,” Bjørhovde says.

Translated by Vigdis Isachsen