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Challenges 2015, 6(1), 26-41; doi:10.3390/challe6010026

The Italian University Habilitation and the Challenge of Increasing the Representation of Women in Academia

1
Forest Pathology and Dendrology, Institute of Integrative Biology, ETH Zurich 8092, Switzerland
2
Animal and Plant Health Unit, European Food Safety Authority (EFSA), Parma 43126, Italy
Academic Editor: Andreas Manz
Received: 19 December 2014 / Revised: 25 February 2015 / Accepted: 4 March 2015 / Published: 10 March 2015
View Full-Text   |   Download PDF [339 KB, uploaded 10 March 2015]   |  

Abstract

Increasing the representation of women in academia is a priority challenge in higher education policy. This study uses data from the Italian University habilitation competition in 2012 to test whether this national, standardized and quantitative assessment of researchers contributed to improving the situation. The proportion of female applications (on the whole about 36%) was in many fields higher than the reported proportion of female University professors (27%, 2010), but lower than the proportion of female researchers (2010) in Italy (45% and 51% for researchers with and without a permanent position, respectively). There was still a gap between the proportion of female applications at the associate (on average 39%) and full professor level (29%). A similar gap was also present between scientific disciplines and the humanities. Average success rates of female applications (41.2%) were on the whole lower than those of male applications (43.9%), but in most fields these differences were not significant. Overall, it is generally much lower proportion of female applications rather than their lower success rate that perpetuates the low proportion of female academics in Italy. More effort is needed to support female researchers in choosing and pursuing an academic career. View Full-Text
Keywords: academic researchers; career progress; equal opportunities; gender equality; higher education; Italy; research policy; tenure; Universities; women in science academic researchers; career progress; equal opportunities; gender equality; higher education; Italy; research policy; tenure; Universities; women in science
This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited. (CC BY 4.0).

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Pautasso, M. The Italian University Habilitation and the Challenge of Increasing the Representation of Women in Academia. Challenges 2015, 6, 26-41.

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