| Gender equality at universities | Sexual orientation and gender identity | Other equality issues at university

The University does not tolerate any form of discrimination, including on the grounds of sex, gender identity or sexual orientation, social, national or ethnic origin, age or living with a disability.

The University Rectorate takes measures to achieve the principle of equality and, to do so, relies on the Equal Opportunities Office and the Gender Equality Commission.

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 2019, women made up 51.5% of graduate assistants but just 22.1% 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 2019, for example, women made up 53.3% of academic staff in the Faculty of Arts (all levels of seniority combined) but just 32% 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.

Sexual orientation and gender identity

Respect is a fundamental value of our university. UNIL wishes to promote a healthy, inclusive and non-discriminatory working and study climate, allowing each member of the university community to feel respected, to develop and to mobilize their skills to ensure the success of their study, research and/or professional projects. Homophobia and transphobia are not tolerated.

The Equal Opportunities Office supports actions aimed at reducing inequalities, particularly those related to gender identity or emotional and sexual orientation. It is available to UNIL services, faculties and associations to support measures and projects aimed at preventing discrimination and raising awareness of the issue in the academic world. It can also offer support to persons who consider themselves to be victims of discrimination.


Other equality issues at university

Equal opportunities at university are not just between women and men, or linked to sexual orientation and gender identity. There are many issues at stake, such as disability, social, national, ethnic or religious origin or cultural characteristics.

UNIL is committed to creating a culture of openness and integration that draws on differences to highlight their benefits, and to enable everyone to develop their full potential and skills. In this sense, it takes various measures in favour of diversity.



University College London is determined to tackle racism (The Guardian)

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Enquête sur le climat de travail et d’étude au sein de l’UNIL (FORS)
Survey on the working and study climate at the UNIL

Equality monitoring at UNIL 2019 (in French)

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