Gender equality at universities
In the late 1990s, the political and university authorities began to be concerned at the small proportion of women (7%) on university teaching staff. The measures introduced in 2000 – driven by the federal “Equality of Opportunities” program – produced positive results.
Today, women are well represented in universities, particularly within the student body, and administrative and technical personnel. But the number of women falls sharply at higher levels, particularly within academic hierarchies. This vertical segregation is found across the board, in Swiss, European and US universities. At UNIL, in 2018, women made up 52% of graduate assistants but just 23% of full professors.
At the same time, there is also horizontal segmentation, i.e. unequal representation of men and women across the different disciplines. In 2018, for example, women made up 51% of academic staff in the Faculty of Arts (all levels of seniority combined) but just 33% in the Faculty of Business and Economics.
There has certainly been progress in recent years but it is still too slow, which is why it is essential to pursue measures to promote equality at the university.