Press release: Gender equality in academia is essential to ensure the science we need in tackling the pressing societal and environmental issues of our time. This is the message of a joint statement from the Young Academies of Sweden, Denmark, Norway, Finland, Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania.
By issuing a joint statement with proposals for promoting gender equality in academia, the aim is to engage the new generation of researchers.
Even though the Nordic countries are often considered trailblazers when it comes to gender issues, significant gender-related challenges remain, also in academia. We believe dedicated policies are necessary to accelerate the pace of progress, and to correct the skewed gender distribution in higher-level academic positions, leadership roles and in specific academic fields. Improving gender equality in academia will also contribute to greater diversity in research questions and approaches and is therefore likely to improve the quality of research, says Katerini Storeng, chair of the Young Academy of Norway.
In the Nordic countries, women are well represented at the PhD and postdoctoral levels but still disproportionally underrepresented at the professor level. Despite attempts to recruit and retain more women in academic positions, a strong gender disparity persists. It is time to identify and weather out outdated practices that are harmful to the science we love.
The statement presents a number of prioritized proposals for all areas of academia: recruitment, promotion, research funding, work environment, mobility, scientific meetings and the peer-review process.
We urge leaders and decision-makers at academic institutions and research funding agencies to act on these proposals. Improving the culture within academia and bringing in new perspectives will benefit society. We simply cannot afford to continue wasting a substantial share of the best researchers, says Maria Tenje, chair of the Young Academy of Sweden 2018–2019.
Young Academy members, guests and staff on the stairs of the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences at the meeting in March 2019. Click for high resolution press photo. Photo: Erik Thor/Young Academy of Sweden
The statement is signed by The Young Academies of Denmark, Estonia, Finland, Latvia, Lithuania, Norway and Sweden, as a result of the first joint meeting of these academies held in Stockholm 19–20 March with support from NordForsk and The Foundation for Baltic and East European Studies (Östersjöstiftelsen). The collaboration creates a unique platform that opens up for interactions across borders, identifying common interests and strengthening our role in the wider European and global context.