SFI Institute Planning Grant Report Form
The main focus of the work involved gathering a comprehensive set of statistics. The starting point for the collection of relevant data in order to establish a set of gender indicators is to obtain accurate gender-disaggregated data for the number of women in SE from undergraduate through to full professor. The overall results are:
While 43% of the undergraduates in SE are women, only 4% of the full professors are women
There is a small increase in the participation of women from PhD to postdoc level (35% to 39%); this falls back dramatically at the Lecturer grade, the career entry point for academics.
Women are then lost at each successive stage of the academic career ladder, leading to the now (in) famous “scissors” diagram
It is clear from the engagement with the College community during the process of conducting this self-assessment, that there is a widespread realisation of the importance of addressing the issue of improving the participation and retention of women in SE. While the original motivation may be one of equality and social equity, there is a growing realisation as numbers of women increase in SE even if only slowly, that women do indeed bring a different perspective not only on management and decision-making but also on the science itself.
It is also apparent that there is no quick-fix solution but rather a requirement for cultural and organisational change if gender mainstreaming is to become a reality. The scale of the problem is evident when analysing academic staff data from 2005. There are currently 31 women at lecturer level and 114 men. Therefore in order to achieve equal number of men and women, it would be necessary to appoint 83 female lecturers and no male lecturers!