Glass ceiling grows for women teaching in Scottish universities

The glass ceiling for women employed in Scottish universities is growing despite record numbers now teaching, according to a new report.

The study by the Scottish Funding Council (SFC), which distributes £1.5bn a year in funding to universities and colleges, found that women account for only 20% of senior lecturers and just 14% of professors – despite 40% of academic staff being female.

Gender in Scottish Higher Education: what’s the issue? found that in 1998 33% of university academics in Scotland were women. The figure rose to 40% by 2004. However, the amount reaching the level of professor fell from 15% to 14% over the same period.

“Things are changing – but slowly. At some levels, such as the number of women professors, the lack of women is stark and progress is slow or non-existent. Universities need to look at why this is: is there a glass ceiling; a lack of opportunities for career breaks; a long-hours culture?” the SFC said.

John Wilkes, director of the Equal Opportunities Commission (Scotland), said the challenges of promoting women to senior posts had yet to be tackled.


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