Quota for women professors announced

first_imgThe University has pledged that a minimum of 30% of professorships and senior positions are to be filled by women by the end of 2020.This is part of the United Nations’ ‘HeforShe’ campaign to increase gender equality. It is one of 10 universities and 20 world institutions to make this new commitment.Vice-Chancellor Andrew Hamilton is quoted on the official HeforShe website as saying, “Addressing gender equality and ensuring that Oxford is a safe and inclusive space for all our students have been among my main priorities. We have already agreed targets for improving the representation of women in academic roles and we will now consider under the HeForShe Campaign how we can achieve greater equality for women across all areas of our work.”When asked why 30% was chosen as the target, rather than a higher proportion, a University spokesperson told Cherwell, “We know that 30% is the threshold at which women achieve meaningful representation and it should be seen as the minimum we are seeking to achieve. Our overall aim is to create a larger pool of academic women who are able to serve in the University’s most senior leadership roles.“The 2020 target is challenging, but realistic. Currently only 26 per cent of academic staff and 21 per cent of professorial staff are female. This is not out of line with many other UK universities and compares favourably with many British and international research-intensive universities. That said, we recognise that we must achieve more.“The challenge over the next five years will be to diversify our leadership without imposing too many administrative roles on the relatively small number of senior women. 30 per cent may sound like a small target, but evidence from the 30 per cent Club, designed to increase the proportion of women on UK company boards, shows that this is the critical mass needed to achieve further positive impacts. So 30 per cent represents an important step.”OUSU Vice-President for Women, Anna Bradshaw commented, “I am pleased to see the University commit to working for gender equality in such a serious way.  I am in particular pleased that OUSU has been able to work closely with the University on these commitments so that a number of the student-facing commitments relate directly to supporting OUSU work.“Having said this, I do believe that there are a number of very serious problems with the HeForShe campaign, and I look forward to the University being able to offer constructive critique to the HeForShe campaign from their new position.”As part of the campaign, the University has also announced an intention to make Undergraduate sexual consent workshops compulsory. They were first introduced in Freshers’ Week 2014 and attendance was encouraged but optional. Cherwell understands they will operate in the same manner this upcoming year, with the addition of ‘Race 101’ workshops, which aim to combat perceived cultural appropriation and racist micro-aggressions in the University.last_img read more