Stop telling tales

June 4, 1999

Anyone who expected The THES to lead us over the barricades to gender equality in higher education would have been sadly disappointed by your editorial ("Women must be encouraged to go for top jobs", THES, May 28).

Once again, we have the comforting shibboleths of "encouraging women to apply", and "not penalising people" that have rightly been considered as far too weak of themselves to promote the participation of disadvantaged groups in education.

As with the latter, surely what we should be expecting is the setting of targets and the monitoring of achievements. If access indicators are designed to measure progress in redressing the under-representation of some social groups in higher education (Higher Education Funding Council for England Report 99/11 "Performance indicators in HE"), is it not about time we had university performance indicators on the employment of women at various grades and levels?

An issue as important as this, if pre-Bett publicity is to be believed, can hardly be left to the goodwill of individuals in higher education institutions.

Hilary Footitt

Cambridge

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