Knowledge Center

Women in Academia

Data and sources for Australia, Canada, Europe, India, Japan, and the United States.


In Australia, Women Hold Fewer Senior Faculty Positions Than Men1

In 2016, Australian women held fewer academic positions than men at the senior lecturer level and above, but more than half of all lecturer and below-lecturer positions.2

  • Women held 44.7% of Senior Lecturer faculty positions and just 31.7% of Above Senior Lecturer faculty positions.3
  • Women held 53.2% of Lecturer faculty positions and 53.3% of Below Lecturer faculty positons.4


Women's Representation Among Faculty Is on the Rise in Canada5

Women were 40.2% of full-time academic teaching staff at Canadian universities in 2016-2017, an increase from 37.6% in 2010–2011.6

Men Professors Earn More Than Women Professors on Average7

In 2014, women full-time permanent university professors in Canada earned an average of $90,123.8

  • This is 86.4% of what male university professors earned.9 


The Higher Up the Academic Ladder, the Wider the Gender Gap10

Women academics held 40.6% of academic positions across the 28 countries of the European Union (EU-28) in 2013.11 

  • Women accounted for 20.9% of Grade A positions, 37.1% of Grade B positions, and 45.1% of Grade C positions.12 
  • Women were a minority among senior academics (Grade A) in many European countries, including Belgium (15.6%), Germany (17.3%), the United Kingdom (17.5%), France (19.3%), Switzerland (19.3%), and Sweden (23.8%).13 

European women hold few positions in academic leadership. In the EU-28, women were only 20.1% of heads of higher education institutions in 2014.14

Women Academics in the UK Are Paid Less Than Men15

In 2015–2016, women on academic contracts earned, on average, 12% less than their male counterparts in the United Kingdom.16


Slightly More Than a Quarter of Professors in Indian Academia Are Women17

In 2015–2016, Indian women held 25.8% of Professor and equivalent faculty positions, 34.8% of Reader and Associate Professor faculty positions, and 39.3% of Lecturer/Assistant Professor faculty positions.18 


Parity Has Been Reached at Junior Colleges, but Universities Lag Behind19

In 2016, women represented over half (52.2%) of full-time junior college teachers in Japan, but just 23.7% of full-time university teachers.20

United States

Women Are Less Likely Than Men to Achieve Tenure21

While women held nearly half (48.9%) of all tenure-track positions in 2015, they held just 38.4% of tenured positions.22 

Women were more likely to be found in lower-ranking academic positions.23

  • While women represent over half (51.5%) of Assistant Professors and are near parity (44.9%) among Associate Professors, they accounted for less than a third (32.4%) of Professors in 2015.24
  • Women held over half (57.0%) of all instructor positions, among the lowest ranking positions in academia.25 
  • 22.1% of women faculty are in non-tenure-track positions, compared to 16.8% of men faculty.26 
Women of Color Are Underrepresented in Academia27

Asian women held 4.9% of tenure-track positions and 3.0% of tenured positions.

Black women held 3.6% of tenure-track positions and 2.3% of tenured positions.

Latinas held 2.7% of tenure-track positions and 2.4% of tenured positions.

Mothers in Academia Often Face a “Baby Penalty”28

In the sciences, married women with children are 35% less likely than married men with children to attain tenure-track positions after completing their PhDs.29

Men Outearn Women at All Faculty Levels30

At all categories of institutions, full professors who are women earned on average $98,524 a year compared to $104,493 for their male colleagues in 2016–2017. That’s 94.3% of what men earned.31

More Women Are Becoming College Presidents, but Progress Remains Slow32

From 1986 to 2016 the number of women college and university presidents jumped from 10% to 30%, a 200% increase.33 

  • Racial diversity rose from 13% to 17% between 2011 and 2016.34 


Additional Resources

American Association of University Professors, “Women in the Academic Profession.”

Center for WorkLife Law, Effective Policies and Programs for Retention and Advancement of Women in Academia (2013).

Penelope M. Huang, Breaking Through Glass Ceilings and Maternal Walls: Focus Group Findings (Center for WorkLife Law, 2008).  

Mary Ann Mason, Nicholas H. Wolfinger, and Marc Goulden, Do Babies Matter? Gender and Family in the Ivory Tower (Rutgers University Press, 2013).

Danica Savonick and Cathy N. Davidson, “Gender Bias in Academe: An Annotated Bibliography of Important Recent Studies,” HASTAC, February 27, 2017. 


How to cite this product: Catalyst, Quick Take: Women in Academia (October 20, 2017).