Dean of LTH Viktor Öwall: "The initiative was discussed at length and we welcome an assessment"

Lund University has been reported to the Equality Ombudsman regarding a gender equality initiative at the Faculty of Engineering, LTH.

– Publicerad den 12 November 2019

The Department of Food Technology, Engineering and Nutrition is an exception at LTH – it has more female professors than male professors. Photo: Kennet Ruona

Excellence in Academia through gender equality is an initiative that aims to recruit promising early-career teaching staff of the underrepresented gender as associate senior lecturers. The initiative should contribute to a more even gender distribution at LTH with the long-term aim of increasing the recruitment base for senior lecturers and, in the future, achieve a more even gender distribution among LTH’s professors.

“I believe that heterogeneous groups often contribute to a more creative environment when different experiences come together. Therefore, we have made a long-term commitment to increasing the proportion of women in male-dominated environments – and the proportion of men in female-dominated environments. We want to be an attractive employer for the underrepresented gender, and we are working actively for gender equality at the University. However, we also believe in meritocracy. Excellence in Academia through gender equality concerns the funding and is not about assessing the qualifications of women and men differently”, says Viktor Öwall, dean of LTH.


The initiative means that a department can apply for central funding for an associate senior lecturer of the underrepresented gender. The application should state the names of several prospective candidates. Calls for applications and the processing of applications then takes place according to the standard process in which the candidate with the highest qualifications is ranked first. If the application is approved, the department receives 80 per cent of the salary from LTH for the first four of the six-year position. The final two years are funded by the department itself. If the person with the highest qualifications is not of the underrepresented gender, the department can choose to proceed but without the central funds from LTH.

“I am satisfied with the results so far and we see this as a means to help us achieve the targets of the government and Lund University. The initiative was discussed at length and we welcome an assessment by the Equality Ombudsman”, says Viktor Öwall.

 

The board of Lund University has set the target for the proportion of women among newly recruited professors at 46%. The government’s target is to achieve equal gender distribution among professors by 2030. Within many departments at LTH, women are massively underrepresented. The Department of Food Technology, Engineering and Nutrition is an exception – it has more female professors than male professors. The number of female professors employed for an indefinite term has risen to 19 per cent at LTH and different initiatives are underway to further increase the gender parity.  

FACTS | Project for more even gender distribution

The Excellence in Academia through Gender Equality project was launched in 2018 and is scheduled for completion in 2022, when it will also be evaluated. 

In 2019, four people have commenced employment within the framework of the project. There will be four new recruitments underway before 2020. These are in addition to the appointments of associate senior lecturers that the departments have planned. 

Viktor Öwall, Dean of LTH. Photo: Håkan Röjder