Scottish universities improving gender balance on governing bodies

Written by Tom Freeman on 27 December 2017 in News

Highest ever level of female participation in HEI governing bodies, Universities Scotland reports

Andrea Nolan - Universities Scotland

Scotland’s higher education institutions (HEIs) have the highest ever levels of women on their governing bodies, according to principals body Universities Scotland.

Figures show Scotland’s HEIs have now succeeded in their 2015 pledge to have achieve a minimum of 40 per cent of both men and women on the governing body, usually called the university board or court.

The ratio, which allows for the further 20 per cent to be either gender, is known as 40:40:20, but First Minister Nicola Sturgeon has since called for a 50:50 commitment from public and third sector bodies.

The overall proportion of women on university governing bodies across the sector is now 45 per cent, although individual universities vary.

Among the lay members of university courts, women make up 47 per cent, an 18 percentage point improvement since 2013.

There is also now an equal number of men and women in the position of chair at Scotland’s HEIs, with nine each. The Open University’s governing body is UK-wide and therefore excluded from the figures, although the OU is led in Scotland by Susan Stewart.

Professor Andrea Nolan, convener of Universities Scotland, said: “These data demonstrate the excellent progress that has been made by the sector to achieve gender balance.

“All institutions have made a concerted effort to have governing bodies that reflect the wider population. The sector is focussed on continual enhancement as we will continue to measure how representative we are.”

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