Sweden: Difficult for women to become professors

In Sweden, men are twice as likely to become professors, compared to women with similiar doctoral training. This is the result of an investigation conducted by The Swedish National Agency for Higher Education. More than half of the lower degree students in the universities are women.
Even though the same amount of women and men are accepted for doctoral training, only 16 percent of the women become professors. The numbers from The Swedish National Agency for Higher Education show that 8 percent of the men that defended their doctoral thesis in 1991 are professors today, compared to only 4 percent of the women.

"If we complete this with the result that shows the number of women and men that become professors before an 18-year period, the picture is crystal clear: The women are disconnected. It does not matter if we compare women and men that were awarded their doctoral degrees in the beginning of the 1980s or ten years later. The pattern remains the same, says Helen Dryler, researcher at The Swedish National Agency for Higher Education.

One explanation can be that women to a greater degree than men go on leave when they become parents and are allienated from the research community for periods of time. In addition, more men are scientific decision-makers, which is an advantage to other men when fundings are being decided or articles published.

The Swedish Government set up an objective of 20 percent women professors in 2004, however, the result shows only 16 percent women. Only 9 of 27 universities where able to meet the objective of 20 percent.