Personal and Professional Development Programme for Women Researchers Personal and Professional Development Programme for Women Researchers

October - December 2008

ResNet organised three three-hour workshop sessions with trainer, facilitator and coach Stephanie Spink, who helps people develop the confidence and skills to find their true potential and the communication skills to achieve it.

Wednesday 8th October 2008 - On being myself

Wednesday 5th November 2008 - Gaining control of my life

Thursday 4th December 2008 - Presenting with confidence

Women Researchers Networking Event and Lunch Women Researchers Networking Event and Lunch

Tuesday 30th October 2008

Developing conversations with other women researchers about:

Work-Life Balance – is this possible in the Research Environment?

Inspirational work – what inspires you to work in Research?

What issues affect women in the research workplace?

An opportunity to network with other women researchers and inform forthcoming ResNet Events 2007/8.

Breaking through: Women and the Academic Life Breaking through: Women and the Academic Life

Prof. Jacquie Burgess

Monday 7th July 2008

Moving down: Women's part-time employment & occupational downgrading in Britain Moving down: Women's part-time employment & occupational downgrading in Britain

Dr. Sara Connolly

Thursday 15th May 2008

Recent debate on gender and education has focused upon an increased feminization of Higher Education.  Women now account for more than 57% of the whole student body and 34% of all academic staff in permanent positions.  However, significant gender gaps persist, especially in the sciences where women account for only 29% of staff, but make up more than half the student body.  In the traditional scientific disciplines we see that the female share of employment varies between 9% in the physical sciences, 18% in maths and computing, 28% in engineering and 33% in biological sciences – all a long way short of gender equity.

Gender inequality is not only restricted to employment, female academics are also paid less than their male colleagues.  Across all subjects women are on average paid £4,953 less than men (just over 13% of average female pay) women are also less likely to be amongst the high earners (earning more than £50,000 pa).  In the sciences the gender pay differential is higher and women are much less likely to be high earners.

There could be many explanations for these pay gaps – male academics are typically older and more likely to be employed in senior positions.  In order to identify how much of this pay gap is due to women being younger, more junior or employed in different types of institution or subject areas it is necessary to undertake a “decomposition” analysis using survey data.  The Athena Surveys of Science Engineering and Technology (the ASSET surveys) provides data that covers all types of employment (across all grades), and details on careers, roles, responsibilities and achievements which allows an in depth analysis of scientific careers in the UK Higher Education sector.

Detailed analysis of the ASSET data also shows that the gender gap in employment rises with seniority.  Women account for only 16% of professors in the sciences.  This percentage varies from 33% in medicine to as little as 5% in engineering.  These findings imply that the ‘glass ceiling’ is real and still very much in place.  This is confirmed by using newly-developed measures of vertical equity which provide indicators of opportunities for women to move up the hierarchical structure.  Applied to the ASSET data, they indicate that the glass-ceiling exists at all stages in an academic science career. It is thickest (i.e., there is a greater barrier) at the progression from senior lecturer or reader to professor, but even at the transition from post-doctoral to lectureship positions, it seems that women face an immediate barrier.

The average gender pay gap in academic science is just over £7,500 per annum.  The fact that men are generally more senior accounts for 62% of this gap, that men are older accounts for 16% and that they are more likely to be employed at Russell Group or Pre-92 Institutions accounts for 4% of the gap.  Interestingly the subject mix causes women to be slightly better paid.  Just under a quarter of the pay gap remains unexplained however.  This translates to around £1,500 pa and can be attributed to differences in treatment i.e. “discrimination”.