Gender equality is one of the key challenges facing society today. Across the world, it manifests in many forms, including pay, employment opportunities and access to education.
The United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) look to tackle some of today’s biggest global issues, and SDG 5 aims to address the issue of gender equality.
As part of the Impact Rankings, Times Higher Education has produced a ranking focusing on how universities are contributing to gender equality. Some of the measures looked at as part of the ranking are research on gender, policies on gender equality, commitment to recruiting and promoting women, the proportion of first-generation female students and student access measures. You can read more about the methodology here.
Top five universities for gender equality
In 2021, Chiang Mai University launched a Women in Engineering programme to encourage more female students to apply to engineering courses.
Since 1991, the university’s Centre for Women’s Studies in the Faculty of Social Sciences has been running a “Legal Volunteer Training Project for Northern Rural Women”. The aim of the project is to empower women to understand legal issues and have a voice in policymaking in the local community.
The University of Indonesia launched its SDG Hub in 2019 as a hub for all activities and programmes the university is undertaking towards the Sustainable Development Goals.
The university scored particularly well for a number of the indicators in this ranking, including gender equality publications, women’s access schemes, applications from women in under-represented subjects, non-discrimination policies, maternity and paternity policies and women’s mentoring schemes.
Western Sydney University was named an Employer of Choice for Gender Equality by the federal government’s Workplace Gender Equality Agency. The institution has held this title for the past 15 years.
Western is also dedicated to combating sexual violence on campus through the development of a respectful relationships education programme to be implemented across the Australian university sector.
A Gender Equality Strategy and Action Plan has been implemented to focus on the areas where gender equality can be improved. One of the key aims for the plan is to support the university’s efforts in recruiting, retaining and helping female staff advance. Other measures that have been introduced in response to the plan are improved breastfeeding facilities on campus, additional leave for staff experiencing domestic violence, and the development of a Gender Equality Policy.
Glasgow Caledonian University is committed to gender equality among staff and students. This includes implementing policies that support well-being, such as the Student Pregnancy and Maternity Policy and the Trans Student Policy, creating a gender-based violence working group and taking part in SmartSTEMs to encourage women into STEM subjects.
The university has also claimed a bronze award under the Athena SWAN scheme, which was established to encourage and recognise commitment to advancing the careers of women in STEM in higher education and research.
Princess Nourah bint Abdulrahman University is the largest women’s university in the world and was founded in 2o10.
It has provided education for women in Saudi Arabia who historically were unable to access the same educational facilities as men. The school aims to give opportunities to female students in traditionally male-dominated areas such as computer science, management and medicine.
In 2018, the university became the first in Saudi Arabia to provide a driving school for women. This was introduced after King Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud granted women the right to drive in the kingdom.