Advancing women’s representation in top academic positions–what works?
Peer reviewed, Journal article
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Original versionStudies in Higher Education. 2023, . 10.1080/03075079.2023.2172563
Which gender equality measures do Nordic universities use, and to what extent are the measures effective in increasing the share of women in top academic positions? Based on theories that distinguish between actor and structure-oriented measures, and between strategies of inclusion and transformation, we identified four types of measures: career enhancing measures offered for women, training and awareness-raising measures, organizational responsibility measures and preferential treatment measures. We investigated the use and efficacy of the four types of policy measures in 37 universities in Sweden, Norway and Finland, implemented between 1995 and 2018. The policy data was collected through on structured interviews with universities’ HR staff and equality officers. By combining these unique survey data and register data on universities’ teaching and research staff we assess the impact of institutional gender equality policy on the gender composition of academics in grade A positions. We find strong growth in the use of organizational responsibility and awareness-raising measures over time, and weaker use of career enhancing measures and preferential treatment. Overall, the institutional measures have a limited effect on the growth in the share of women in grade A positions. Nonetheless, we find that the implementation of structural measures is associated with the growth of women in grade A positions.