Equal opportunities should become a "mainstream" part of university funding, quality assurance and accreditation, Anne Wright, vice chancellor of Sunderland University has told a women in higher education conference in London.
Dr Wright, head of the Commission on University Careers Opportunity, said at Opportunity 2000 that the new Quality Assurance Agency for higher education "should mainstream equal opportunities in its structures, including programme specifications and subject standards".
Funding councils "should consider equal opportunities implications of any changes", and the proposed Institute for Teaching and Learning should ensure its accreditation includes equal opportunities.
CUCO, part of the Committee of Vice Chancellors and Principals, will lobby to ensure that government plans for lifelong learning and widening access to education embrace diversity and include monitoring participation by women, ethnic minorities and disabled students.
Lady Howe, chair of Opportunity 2000, set up in 1991 to "increase the quality and quantity of women in the workforce", called for more universities to set goals to increase women's participation.