New committee will promote gender equality

One of Aarhus University’s strategic goals is to ensure gender equality in the research environments, but the results are not materialising. Health is therefore establishing a gender equality committee to promote gender equality across the faculty.

Women are stuck in a rut when it comes to gender equality in the research environments. One area in which Health is lagging behind is the gender balance in academic career-track positions. A Equal Opportunities Committee will now help to rectify this.

The proportion of women in associate professor and professor positions at Health is inversely proportional to the proportion of female students, PhD students and postdocs. And despite several years of increased attention on gender equality, the proportion of female assistant professors and associate professors at the faculty is stagnating. 

The faculty management team believes that this calls for action. Therefore, a gender equality committee has now been established so that Health can contribute visible results – not only in words, but also in action – to AU’s shared ambition of more gender equality in the research environments. 

"We wish to intensify our efforts to improve gender equality. Until now, the faculty management team has also acted as the gender equality committee, but we need a committee that works more proactively with gender equality at Health," says Dean Anne-Mette Hvas. 

Equal opportunities irrespective of gender 

The Equal Opportunities Committee will exchange ideas and best practice, and launch initiatives to promote gender equality at the faculty. The goal is a faculty with gender balance and equal career opportunities – not just for academic staff but also for managers, students and technical/administrative staff. 

"This is a long-term strategy which involves working with cultural and organisational development, so that all employees and students have equal opportunities and rights regardless of gender," says Anne-Mette Hvas. 

Health's Equal Opportunities Committee will comprise twelve members and will be broadly representative with members drawn from the departments, a representative from the technical/administrative staff and a student representative. In addition, the two members of AU’s Committee for Diversity and Equality (at present Department Head Siri Beier Jensen and Professor Ebbe Bødtkjer) will also be members of the committee. Finally, the Dean is automatically both a member and the committee chair. 

First gender equality, then diversity 

In the first instance, the committee will focus on gender balance. 

"We’re going to begin with a clear focus on gender equality. This is also where we have the most urgent issue. But our ambition at the faculty is also to deal with diversity in a broader sense," says Anne-Mette Hvas. 

The Equal Opportunities Committee will refer to the faculty management team and will be supplemented by an advisory panel, which will contribute with inspiration and experiences from other parts of society and from other academic disciplines.  

The members of Health’s Equal Opportunities Committee are expected to be appointed in the course of March and April. 

Further information 

Dean Anne-Mette Hvas
Tel.: (+45) 8715 2007