Only a quarter of university professors are women. Not surprisingly, the ratio is even more imbalanced in science subjects.
Of the 267 professors at the University of Luxembourg, only 67 are women, a rate of 25%. A more imbalanced relationship among scientific disciplines, known as the “mint”: mathematics, computer science, natural and technical sciences, is still largely dominated by men.
At the European level, with barely 28% women in scientific and engineering positions, Luxembourg is a poor student: it is far behind the European average established at 41.1%, according to 2019 Eurostat data.
Amazed by these poor results in terms of equality, Dei Grange questions the minister for equality between women and men, Taina Bofferding, in a parliamentary question (n° 6010) to find out what needs to be done to fix the problem. The solution was envisioned. ,
Sensitizing girls to scientific professions
Aware of the imbalance, the Minister in his reply recalled several measures taken to increase the rate of women in academic and research fields, but also to raise awareness of scientific professions to young girls.
It is really a question of taking the evil to the root by fighting gender stereotypes – “choices for training or profession [étant] often guided by gender stereotypes”, the minister wrote – and by encouraging young girls to turn to scientific careers and research.
“It is clear that stereotypes can negatively affect each and everyone’s personal and professional choices. The scientific field is no exception: statistics clearly show that there are large differences between the percentages of women and men in scientific professions.” This is why fighting against these prejudices and encouraging girls in particular to take interest in science from an early age is close. Science knows no bounds and that’s what makes it so exciting!” Tana Bofferding said last February at the launch of an awareness campaign called “Women and Girls in Research,” which aims to encourage women to engage in research.
In this regard, the Ministry of Equality (MEGA) is implementing a National Scheme that provides for the promotion of activities and applications in technology and supports initiatives aimed at helping girls pursue scientific careers, technological and computer technologies. to encourage adoption, such as “Girls in Tech”, “Girls Exploring Math”, or even “Women in Digital Empowerment”.
“Preference given to female candidate”
To correct the current imbalance in the university and achieve a rate of at least 30% female professors by 2025, an audit was also conducted in 2020 to better address the challenges. Thus this audit revealed that no less than 87 percent of the participants in the educational body’s survey had the impression that it is easier for a man to reach a position of responsibility than a woman!
As a result of this audit, a number of measures were initiated, first and foremost the adoption of a recruitment process that determined that “proactive efforts” should be made to solicit applications from eligible women. To guarantee fairness when evaluating applications, a balance must be ensured between the number of men and women to make up the recruitment committee (in the absence of parity, etc.) and “agree to take over the chairman of the recruitment committees”. Required training for assessment activity including diversity, gender equality and unconscious bias.
In addition, at least one eligible candidate must be invited for interview. In the absence of an adequate profile, an appraisal report should explain in detail why this was not possible. Corrective measures may be decided by the rector, such as introducing a new position with a revised profile, for example.
Advice to support women’s advancement
Another key measure: In departments where less than 30% of professors are women, “preference should be given to female candidates in the event of similar qualifications”.
The university also adopted a gender equality policy in 2021 and will implement a four-year plan in 2022-2025. In this context, a mentorship program should be created to support the advancement of women to professorship positions, as well as a program of chairs of excellence for “probably” young professors.
“In addition, the university plans to seek support from several European funds as well as national research funds to raise funds for additional positions and attract outstanding female professors,” concluded Minister Tina Bofferding.
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