Gender gap remains at unis
Women walk a ‘‘tightrope’’ to a successful university career, but many are falling short.
Despite being just as qualified as their male counterparts, in 2014 women made up just 28 per cent of professors and associate professors in universities across New Zealand.
On-going research conducted by the University of Auckland has shown that figure has remained stagnant in 2016.
School of Critical Studies in Education associate dean Kirsten Locke says at the current pace it would take about 25 years before women are fairly represented in our universities’ top jobs.
‘‘There doesn’t seem to have been a change which is a little concerning on a national level,’’ she says.
‘‘University is supposed to be the centre of consciousness in society. We would expect in this space to have fair and equitable representation.’’
Locke’s research focuses on career trajectory of women in universities throughout New Zealand and Denmark.
Both countries have just under 50 per cent representation of women in universities.
‘‘But when we have around 20 per cent with professorships we can no longer say that there is a lag,’’ Locke says.
‘‘Women have to walk an increasingly fine line between never being perceived as too feminine or masculine. It’s a tightrope that women have to navigate.’’
As of 2016 women made up 23.2 per cent of professors and 37.8 per cent of associate professors at the University of Auckland.
At AUT the numbers are similar with women making up 28 per cent of professors and 35 per cent of associate professors.
AUT professor of public policy Marilyn Waring says New Zealand’s research funding ‘‘is a merry-go-round of the old boys’ network’’.
Waring says she’s tired of it always being a woman’s job to drive equality.
‘‘It should be important to everyone, regardless of their gender or their ideological per- suasion,’’ she says.
Locke says a lack of information is concealing the true extent of the gender gap.
‘‘Part of the reason people aren’t that concerned about the disparity is because it’s not out there in the public sphere.’’
‘‘Reporting and data gathering in the university sector needs to be much more reliable, regular and grounded.’’
University of Auckland associate dean Kirsten Locke says women walk a tightrope to senior roles.