New Report: Gender at The Faculty of Science, University of Southern Denmark. Statistical findings

The present material gives a collected overview of the gender profile of the scientific personnel at the Faculty of Science, University of Southern Denmark based on the years 2010, 2011 and 2012. In two instances, data from 2013 have also been included. The material focuses on comparisons between men and women’s performance, representation and relative share across the span of five scientific career levels – PhD, post doc, assistant professor, associate professor and professor.

The main tendency this material brings to light is the drop at each of the five career levels of the share of women. Thus the share of women at PhD‐level ranges between 25 to 68% – with a mean of 45% – but drops to a range between 0 to 30% – with a mean of 15% – at professor‐level. This trend is reminiscent of the pattern found in the rest of the Danish Academia as well as in Europe at large (cf. She Figures 2012 – a report made for The European Commission about gender in research and innovation across 27 in European countries).

The material also shows differences across the disciplines represented at the Faculty of Science. More women are present in the experimental, biology‐oriented disciplines, whereas the lowest representation of women is found in mathematics‐ and physics‐oriented disciplines.

The five career levels show differences in development during the three year period represented here. There is a general decrease in the overall number of PhDs, with a relatively larger decrease in the share of female PhDs.

The number of post docs fluctuate in the period both for women and men, but as these positions typically are shorter than PhD‐positions and assistant professor positions the data given here with a once‐per‐year‐head count may not adequately reflect the goings and comings of project‐affiliated post docs during the individual year.

Assistant professor positions undergo the largest development in this period of time, from a low number in 2010 to a decidedly neglible number in 2011 and 2012 – with a marked underrepresentation of women. This tendency is worth noting, since this  could point to a more uncertain career path for women, as assistant professor positions typically lead on to permanent positions.

Associate professors and professors show the most stability in numbers, however there are increases at both these two career levels in the period, but primarily in the male share. The number of women stays more or less constant, and thus the relative female share drops.

Data concerning scientific activities – such as publication activities and funding applications submitted and granted – show that at the junior levels women lag behind their male peers. This tendency is disturbing, since career advancement and competitiveness is based on performance in these areas. This may be of particular and critical importance in questions of internal competition for senior positions.
Conversely, the data also show that female professors outperform their male peers, thus lending support to a hypothesis that after the tough selection processes in reaching the level of professor for women, female professors are very strong – and have a distinct competitive edge.

Contact: Head of Secretariat, Faculty of Science, University of Southern Denmark: Eva Sophia Myers. Email +45 65501898.Mobile: +45 60111898.

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