A study shows the low presence of women in the highest positions in the most prominent universities in the United States of America, the United Kingdom and Canada

The researcher and professor at the Faculty of Nursing and Physiotherapy of the University of Lleida (UdL) Montserrat Gea has participated in the research that has studied the equality policies of 15 pioneering university centers

An analysis of the 15 most important social sciences and public health universities in the United States of America, the United Kingdom and Canada, with participation from Lleida, shows that, despite the numerous diversity policies and action plans established in these Universities, there are still disparities of gender and ethnicity in the places with the highest university rank, such as the Chairs. Therefore, the study shows how women see their career delaying for these two reasons. The study, which has been led by the University of Singapore and the researcher Helena Legido (currently visiting professor at the University of Lleida), has been published as part of a special issue of The Lancet magazine on the advancement of women in the science, medicine and global health.

The researcher and professor of the Faculty of Nursing and Physiotherapy of the University of Lleida, Montserrat Gea, has participated in the research that has studied the information and equality policies of ten American universities (Harvard University, Johns Hopkins University, University of Stanford, University of Michigan, University of Washington, Columbia University, University of California LA, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, Yale University, University of California Berkeley), four universities of the United Kingdom (University of Oxford, University of Cambridge, University College London, London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine) and a Canadian university (University of Toronto).

Research shows that the proportion of men and women in academic positions is mostly the same, and that about one third of men and women are of an ethnic minority. But while men occupy senior positions, women are concentrated in junior positions. In addition, it also notes an absence of women from ethnic minorities in higher positions.

Prejudice and discrimination against academics is manifested through more difficult working conditions, fewer possibilities of recruitment or promotion, less success rates in the application for funding, the publication of research that is perceived as less important and receives less respect for part of the students.

To conclude, the study advises some strategies to improve these situations, such as the use of blind reviews of gender and ethnicity in hiring, award nominations, financing decisions and publication processes. It also proposes redesigning the common academic evaluation criteria, so that women and researchers of ethnic minorities are not disadvantaged.

In this sense, Gea said that "if the 15 most important universities around the world, which should be an example 'puncture' in terms of equality, we can expect that the situation in the rest is much more disastrous." The researcher has also explained that Times Higher Education, responsible for making one of the most prestigious rankings in the world, has contacted them to hold a meeting to integrate indicators of ethnic and gender diversity. "This could shake the whole ranking system of the rankings so appreciated in the Anglo-Saxon world" has qualified.

Gea is a researcher at the Group of Studies on Society, Education, Health and Culture (GESEC), consolidated group of the UdL, and head of the Research Group in Health Cures of the Biomedical Research Institute of Lleida (IRBLleida).

Reference article:Mishal Sameer Khan et al. More talk than action: gender and ethnic diversity in leading public health universities. The Lancet 2019. DOI:https://doi.org/10.1016/S0140-6736(18)32609-6

Text: Communication and Press IRBLleida