Gender equality is one of the key challenges facing society today. Across the world it manifests in many ways including in 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 tackle the issue of gender equality.
As part of the University Impact Rankings, Times Higher Education has produced a ranking focusing on how universities are contributing to gender equality. Some of the measures that are looked at as part of the ranking are research on gender, policies on gender equality, their 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
1. Western Sydney University
Western Sydney University was awarded 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 14 years.
The university 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 2015-2020 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.
2. Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam
The wo/men network at Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam aims to improve the position of women in the university. The network aims to promote diversity and equal opportunities and tackle gender biases within the organisation.
Women at the university organise events and mentoring programmes to promote gender equality discussions.
3. University of Gothenburg
Gender equality at the University of Gothenburg is part of the remit of two organisations within the university. The first is the Centre for Interdisciplinary Gender Research. The centre is a resource for researchers at the university, providing opportunities for collaboration, forums and dialogue in connection with gender-related research.
The second is the Swedish Secretariat for Gender Research, which focuses on gender research and gender equality.
=4. University of Bologna
The University of Bologna has developed a Gender Equality Plan to promote the careers of women and prevent the loss of talent through women dropping out of their jobs.
As a commitment to SDG 5, the university plans to publish gender data annually, and establish a help desk for those students with LGBTQ+ concerns.
The university also aims to launch projects together with the Civilian Police and the Women’s Refuge alongside various voluntary associations to ensure that students across the university are aware of gender violence.
=4. University of Worcester
The University of Worcester’s 2017 gender pay gap report stated that the institution’s gender pay gap was 3.16 per cent, which was far smaller than the UK’s national average of 17.4 per cent.
The report also stated that 65 per cent of employees were women and that women are represented across all levels of seniority.
Top universities for gender equality 2019: Top 100
Editor’s note: This table was amended on 12 April 2019 to reflect changes in the positions of some institutions.