Hong Kong university takes step towards gender parity

Half of vice-presidents at the Hong Kong University of Science and Technology are now female

March 12, 2018
Gender balance

A leading university in Hong Kong has reached gender parity at one of its most senior levels of staff, but other institutions in the territory continue to lag behind.

Two of the four vice-presidents at Hong Kong University of Science and Technology – which is ranked joint fifth in Times Higher Education’s 2018 Asia University Rankings – are now female, a higher share than any other publicly funded university in the city.

The milestone comes after the institution appointed Sabrina Lin Man-yee as vice-president for institutional advancement. She joins Nancy Ip Yuk-yu, an expert on neurodegenerative diseases and the university’s vice-president for research and graduate studies.

According to the South China Morning Post, the only other publicly funded institutions with women at that level of seniority are Hong Kong Polytechnic University, with two of its five vice-president or provost posts held by women; the Chinese University of Hong Kong with two out of six women in these ranks; The Education University of Hong Kong with one in three; and the University of Hong Kong with one out of seven.

Dr Lin said that 30 to 35 per cent of HKUST’s recent hires were female, despite the fact that the institution focuses on traditionally male-dominated science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) fields and that the university’s female faculty grew by about 80 per cent over the past 10 years, according to the paper.

In 2016, the University of Hong Kong committed to trebling the proportion of women in dean-level positions as one of UN Women’s HeForShe IMPACT Universities – a group of 10 institutions spanning eight countries that have made ambitious commitments towards achieving gender equality.

Peter Mathieson, then the vice-chancellor of the university, said that he made the pledge after 2014 data showed that of the 110 posts at dean level or above in Hong Kong’s eight government-funded universities, just eight were held by women.


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