The gender gap in university employment is now just five per cent, with women accounting for 66 per cent of appointments between 2008 and 2017, Frank Larkins reports in new research for the L H Martin Institute at the University of Melbourne.
Over the period 1.4 women were recruited as academics for every man. And the number of women employed above senior lecturer level all but doubled, from 2574 in 2008 to 5 144, while male numbers grew by 25 per cent or so, to 10 525.
“The under-representation of females among the academic staff of Australian universities, especially at senior levels, has been a much-discussed policy issue for decades. There is now clear evidence that universities have collectively been proactive in recruiting more female academic staff over the past decade,” he writes.
The proportion of women on professional staff has grown to 66 per cent over the decade, due to females making up 74 per cent of staff increase.
However Professor Larkins warns staffing trends are not terrific for the student experience. In 2008 for every new academic hired 23 students were enrolled, over the next decade this blew out to one to 31.
“There are now more female academic staff to act as mentors and role models for the growth in female student enrolments; however, the increased student-to-staff ratio does make the task of maintaining a quality educational experience more challenging,” he says.