University work contracts turning off female scientists
Universities must do more to attract a reasonable percentage of female scientists to the profession, a parliamentary watchdog warns.
Universities are dissuading women from pursuing professorial roles thanks to unappealing short term contracts, the Science and Technology Committee argues.
These contracts, the Committee claims, are particularly unattractive for women, who often crave a stable career pathway. Men are also similarly dissuaded.
Women remain underepresented in science academia, despite several high profile campaigns to improve diversity.
The government’s diversity funding, provided through the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills, was cut in 2010.
Chair of the Committee Andrew Miller MP said:“It is commendable that the government wants to inspire girls to choose science at school because this is when major decisions about future careers are made.
“However, such efforts are wasted if women scientists are then disproportionately and systematically disadvantaged compared to men.
“The government now needs to monitor the effects of its decision to cut diversity funding and pay more attention to the retention of women in science”.
IET Director, Michelle Richmond, said: “The report highlights the gulf between senior female professors and their male counterparts.
"Figures from Engineering UK show that Engineering and Technology has the worst gender diversity of all disciplines with just 17.2 per cent of female academics – a truly shocking statistic.
“It is important to support women throughout academic life and both employers and institutions can play a key role in this".