No conclusions can be drawn from the WomenCount: Leaders in Higher Education report regarding the link (or otherwise) between the number of female governors on university boards and the appointment of female vice-chancellors (“Governance gender gap still yawning”, News, 5 December). Unfortunately, the research does not reference the dates of appointment of female governors or vice-chancellors.
This is not to deny the lack of progress in higher education gender equality: however, it is unhelpful to conflate female representation on boards with the appointment of senior leaders without a clear evidence base.
Many organisations from political parties to international companies have long understood that women add value, and have adopted a variety of measures to improve female representation at senior level. In higher education, it is likely to be more profitable to subject the recruitment practices that apply to the appointment of vice-chancellors to more careful scrutiny, and for the Committee of University Chairs to consider whether its new code of governance can do more to ensure that governing boards are more reflective of the UK’s workforce (which is 52 per cent female).
Interesting juxtaposition in the magazine last week. On page 5, the Times Higher Education editorial board listing. On page 6, the headline: “Governance gender gap still yawning”.
Reader in occupational therapy
York St John University