Not enough women embark on research career and more women than men drop out of research careers. The League of European Research Universities. (LERU) regards it as a loss of talent for society and a lack of diversity in the workplace, each of which presents a potential threat to the search for excellence in research. LERU has recently published a document with recommendations on how universities can attract and retain women in research careers. Núria Pumar and Anna Villarroya, lecturers at the faculties of Law and Economics and Business of the UB, respectively, together with the Gender Equality Committee of the UB have taken part in drawing up the paper.
Academia in Europe is losing a considerable amount of its female research capacity. Although women obtain 45% of PhD degrees, they drop out at successive turns and for various reasons. In addition, women represent only 13% of heads of institutions in the higher education sector. As in other labour sectors, women progressing in an academic career face unconscious bias against their promotion or in other critical situations. While progress has been, and is being, made in reducing gender inequality, change may come about slowly and is subject to significant variation according to country, research field and other factors. LERU’s paper aims to stimulate change in this regard, by identifying priority areas in which universities can usefully undertake gender actions and by sharing the experience of what LERU universities are doing to attract and support women in research careers. In addition, LERU universities also commit themselves to undertake action to develop or continue to implement Gender Equality Strategies and Action Plans, and to engage with EU policy makers, funders and other actors to promote the cause of gender equality at universities.
LERU is an association of twenty-one leading research intensive universities that share the values of highly-quality teaching within an environment of internationally competitive research. Founded in 2002, LERU advocates education through an awareness of the frontiers of human understanding; the creation of new knowledge through basic research, which is the ultimate source of innovation in society, and the promotion of research across a broad front in partnership with industry and society at large. The UB, which became a member of LERU in January 2010, is the only Spanish university that belongs to the league.