University Staff

Even universities are no longer dominated by male staff. In 2013/14 the total UK staff numbers in higher education were 248,165 women and 222,655 men, though this includes non-academic staff. Confining attention to academic staff the numbers were 121,850 women and 147,435 men, so not far off parity. Twice as many women worked part time. The gender difference in favour of men only becomes marked at senior staff levels. The government backed Athena Swan organisation is pushing strongly for parity in those areas where female senior staff are in the minority (but not the reverse, of course). The compliance of university departments with the instruction to increase the number of female staff, especially at senior levels, is being backed by very real threats to withdraw funding. All pretence at meritocracy is being abandoned.

The contrast between this and the total lack of action in the context of male undergraduates’ disappearance from a wide range of subjects is obnoxious. Similarly there is no equivalent to Athena Swan for school teachers, where the gender disparity is far greater than for university staff. This will be because the disparity in that case is in the ‘approved’ direction.

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