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How to get more women professors: success on the top of the world!

December 6, 2011

With focus and commitment, the University of Tromsø has become Norway’s leading university for gender balance. New statistics have arrived and they reveal that 27.4% of our full professors are women.

Tromsø is better than any other institution of higher education in Norway, and it is well ahead of the national average of 23%.

The Board of the University has articulated a goal of having 30% of our highest academic positions occupied by women by the end of 2013. Our progress has been steady and salient. In 2007, 18.3% of our professors were women. In 2008, it was 20.1%. At the end of 2009, we had reached 22.4% and last year we were at 24.6%. Today, we have reached 27.4%!

This progress reflects major investments in faculty development.

We have acknowledged that structural impediments are part of the reason that fewer women than men reach the rank of full professor. As a consequence, we work to reduce the impact of those impediments with women who are currently in the system, and we work to change the system so that the impediments will be eliminated for future generations.

The University of Tromsø has used a wide variety of measures to feed the progress we are reporting today. We have deliberately hired a number of women into Affiliated Professor positions (a Norwegian supplemental 20% position with the title Professor-II); one effect of this is to increase the number of female role models at this level, and we have also recruited from this pool to 100% positions.

We have made extensive use of mentor programs. Several women in Associate Professor positions have had an extra semester of sabbatical as they approach the homestretch for applying for promotion. The advancement of women has been promoted by the top level of leadership at the university for many years. In short, we have made the promotion of women a priority.



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