'Research funding fast-tracks men into top jobs'

June 25, 2004

The closing of the gender gap is "barely visible" at a management level and men in their mid-30s are still more likely to be fast-tracked through the ranks, says Hilary Pilkington.

Professor Pilkington, of the Centre for Russian and Eastern European Studies at Birmingham University, was promoted in 2002 after 12 years in academe.

"I'm unusual in the sense that the mantra is 'the best way to get a chair is to move around' - and I've been employed at Birmingham since 1990," she said.

"One thing I have noticed over time is a greater awareness of issues of potential discrimination."

Professor Pilkington, 40, added: "I've been fortunate with research funding - and that may be one of the reasons why I have been promoted to a professorship quite early and unusually early for a woman.

"You tend to see quite a lot of early appointments, fast-track appointments for men aged about 35, but few chairs are given to women of that age.

'I suspect that research funding has a lot to do with that," Professor Pilkington added.

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