Report on gender inequality at Economics
MAASTRICHT. The male-female ratio among PhD candidates is balanced, but of all the lecturers, only one in five is female. This dropout is typical for SBE in Maastricht. The Service Science Factory tried to identify causes and solutions and presented its findings on Tuesday.
Even in the top layer, the School of Business and Economics (SBE) does poorly, just like its sister faculties, by the way. Only 9 per cent of the professors and 17 per cent of the senior lecturers is female. The presentation does not mention any causes for the imbalanced growth. “We do not know exactly what the problem is,” says project leader Lisa Brüggen, senior lecturer at SBE. “It is a mosaic of factors, but it undoubtedly has to do with the economics culture.” Then again: Health, Medicine and Life Sciences, another former male-dominated environment, has twice as many female professors. And compared to Arts and Social Sciences, with 40 per cent, Economics has a long way to go.
“Where all talent can flourish.” Apparently, this slogan from the Maastricht Strategic Programme does not apply to everyone, says Brüggen, who based her presentation on interviews, literature and HR data. All of which was collected by a team of ten employees and students.
An interesting finding is that the HR policy of the departments leaves a lot to be desired. The departments do not always adhere to the obligatory procedures and occasionally register personnel data in a very amateurish way. An important recommendation is to introduce a professional, user-friendly and effective HR system.
“It is high time that the departments put their policies on paper,” says Martin Carree later on in a panel discussion. Carree leads a faculty working group that is scrutinising HR policies. “Protocols are rather hazy and criteria muddy. There is a real need for clarity because that will remove uncertainty. There is also a need for reliable statistics, which may sound odd at an economics faculty. How many women apply for which positions? What have departments done to recruit women? Those are important things to know.”
Brüggen sums up an impressive series of recommendations, about paternity leave, childcare, awareness of gender inequality (“including the composition of the so-called ‘circle’ at PhD ceremonies, for example, many of which consist only of men”), courses and a mentor programme. To end with a warning for managers: do not let yourself be tempted to only go for the easy pickings, but introduce structural measures.