First-generation students and those from lower socio-economic backgrounds are still poorly represented in higher education. But universities are now working hard to rectify this and the Impact Rankings 2023 are an indicator of which institutions are doing this successfully.
To put together this ranking we mapped how universities around the world are committing to the 17 United Nations Sustainable Development Goals. The SDGs are a global call to action to tackle poverty, climate change and inequality.
The SDGs look to tackle some of today’s biggest global issues and SDG 10 in particular covers reducing inequalities.
Some of the metrics that helped measure which universities are excelling at reducing inequalities were the number of first-generation students, the number of students from developing countries, the proportion of students and staff with disabilities, measures against discrimination and the amount of research a university undertakes on reduced inequalities. More information on the methodology can be found here.
These are the top five universities for reducing inequality:
RMIT University is committed to working across all the SDGs, and SDG 10 is no exception.
RMIT is conducting a number of research projects that explore inequalities in all aspects of society in Australia and beyond. One such project focuses on the liveability of Australian cities through analysing public transport systems, public open spaces, housing affordability, walkability, employment and food and alcohol environments.
Aalborg University conducts a range of research projects related to tackling inequalities, looking into social housing, language inequalities, policies for refugees and much more.
The university has three research units dedicated to researching inequalities.
The disability service at Western Sydney University is made up of a team of professional disability advisers and trained educational support staff. The service provides pre-admission advice, academic support and advocacy on disability-related issues.
There is also a wide range of support for international students. There are guides providing practical advice on living and studying in Australia, as well as important information about mental health and loneliness.
There is also a specific support centre for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander students.
This year the University of Canberra moves down to number four from number one for SDG 10.
The university was an Employer of Choice for Gender Equality for 12 years, until its last submission in 2019. It also received the Athena SWAN Institutional Bronze Award as part of the Science in Australia Gender Equity programme in 2020.
The university conducts research into social inequalities and discrimination. It is also committed to recruiting staff and students from under-represented groups.
The University of Huddersfield has implemented a range of anti-discrimination and anti-harassment policies for students and staff.
The university offers mentoring, counselling and peer support to members of the university community: for example, with care-experienced students through the work of care leaver support coordinators, or among staff through the work of diversity champions and the networks for BAME, LGBTQI+, female, and disabled staff.
The top 100 universities for reducing inequality
Editors note: As part of our THE statement on Ukraine published on 2 March 2022, Russian universities have been given less prominence in our rankings. Russian universities that met the criteria for this ranking are not displayed in the table above.