Top universities for tackling gender equality

Explore the top 100 universities for gender equality based on data collected for the Times Higher Education Impact Rankings

April 21 2021
Top universities for gender equality


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. 

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As part of the Impact RankingsTimes 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

1. Princess Nourah bint Abdulrahman University

Princess Nourah bint Abdulrahman University is the largest women’s university in the world and was founded in 2010. 

It has provided education for women in Saudi Arabia when, historically, they 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.

2. La Trobe University

La Trobe University has a number of initiatives to drive gender equality, including the Workplace Gender Equality Agency, SAGE Pilot (an accreditation and improvement programme for higher education research organisations focusing on gender equality) and Square the Ledger, which aims to celebrate the lives of women who have studied, taught and worked at the university.

La Trobe vice-chancellor John Dewar has stated that he is “deeply committed to achieving gender equality in all areas of university life”, including equal representation of women in senior leadership roles and across all schools and departments.

3. Western Sydney University

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. 

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4. Charles Darwin University

Charles Darwin University created a development plan in 2019 to outline how it would work towards the SDGs by 2025. This included measures ensuring that students and staff are engaged in developing sustainable practices on campus. 

The university has also created a plan to ensure gender equity in science policy with measures such as ensuring that early and mid-career women are given opportunities to progress in their careers, and undertaking an annual gender pay analysis. 

5. Glasgow Caledonian University

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 was also awarded 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.

Top universities for gender equality 2021: Top 100


Gender equality rank 2021 University Country/region
1 Princess Nourah bint Abdulrahman University Saudi Arabia
2 La Trobe University Australia
3 Western Sydney University Australia
4 Charles Darwin University Australia
5 Glasgow Caledonian University United Kingdom
6 Trinity College Dublin Republic of Ireland
7 Lahore College for Women University (LCWU) Pakistan
8 Amrita Vishwa Vidyapeetham India
9 University of Worcester United Kingdom
10 Monash University Australia
11 Auckland University of Technology New Zealand
12 Middlesex University United Kingdom
=13 University of Auckland New Zealand
=13 University of Bologna Italy
15 NOVA University of Lisbon Portugal
16 Charles Sturt University Australia
=17 University of Canberra Australia
=17 London South Bank University United Kingdom
=19 Deakin University Australia
=19 University of East London United Kingdon
=19 University of Montreal  Canada
=19 University of Westminster  United Kingdom
23 Autonomous University of Barcelona Spain
24 Edith Cowan University Australia
25 University of Sydney Australia
26 Australian Catholic University Australia
27 University of Leeds United Kingdom
=28 Universiti Malaysia Sarawak (UNIMAS) Malaysia
=28 Miguel Hernández University of Elche  Spain
=28 Queensland University of Technology Australia
31 Towson University United States
32 University of Gothenburg Sweden
33 McMaster University Canada
34 King Abdulaziz University Saudi Arabia
35 Federation University Australia Australia
36 University of Newcastle Australia
37 Free University of Berlin Germany
38 University of Bucharest Romania
39 University of Rovira i Virgili Spain
=40 University of Girona  Spain
=40 University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill United States
42 Universiti Teknologi MARA Malaysia
=43 IE University Spain
=43 University of Johannesburg  South Africa
45 Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam Netherlands
=46 Arizona State University (Tempe) United States
=46 University of Maryland, Baltimore County United States
=46 Massey University  New Zealand
=49 University of Lleida  Spain
=49 Metropolitan Autonomous University Mexico
=49 University of Otago New Zealand
52 Victoria University of Wellington New Zealand
53 Pompeu Fabra University Spain
=54 Chiang Mai University Thailand
=54 Texas State University United States
56 University of Wollongong Australia
57 University of Padua Italy
=58 University of Cape Town  South Africa
=58 University of Missouri-St Louis United States
60 Maynooth University Republic of Ireland
61 Murdoch University Australia
62 University of Manchester United Kingdom
63 University of Malaya Malaysia
64 York University Canada
65 University of Guelph Canada
=66 University of Aberdeen  United Kingdom
=66 University of Malaga Spain
=66 Memorial University of Newfoundland Canada
=66 University of Southern Denmark Denmark
70 University of Tasmania Australia
71 National University of Ireland, Galway Republic of Ireland
=72 Bangor University United Kingdom
=72 Hasanuddin University Indonesia
74 University of Lausanne Switzerland
75 University of Hamburg Germany
=76 American University United States
=76 North-Eastern Federal University Russian Federation
=78 Government College Women University Faisalabad Pakistan
=78 University of Northampton United Kingdom
80 Macquarie University Australia
81 University of South Florida (Tampa) United States
82 Ewha Womans University South Korea
=83 King’s College London United Kingdom
=83 Pontifical Catholic University of Chile Chile
85 ESIC Business and Marketing School Spain
=86 Andrés Bello University (UNAB) Chile
=86 Sapienza University of Rome Italy
88 University of Vigo Spain
=89 Dublin City University Republic of Ireland
=89 Federal University of São Paulo (UNIFESP) Brazil
=89 Simon Fraser University Canada
92 University of Desarrollo Chile
93 University of East Anglia United Kingdom
94 Londrina State University  Brazil
=95 University of Alcalá  Spain
=95 University of Edinburgh United Kingdom
=97 Bath Spa University United Kingdom
=97 Fatima Jinnah Women University  Pakistan
=97 University of Indonesia  Indonesia
=97 Mahidol University  Thailand
=97 Queen’s University  Canada

View the full ranking for gender equality here

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