Documents Ethical Forum 2016

Is Academia a place for women? The strenuous road from Ph. D. student to rector

Thursday  December 8, 2016, 14.00-18.00

15th Ethical Forum of the University Foundation


At the bachelor’s and master’s levels, women are now more numerous than men.  From the doctor’s degree onwards, however, their numbers gradually decrease and become dramatically low at the rank of full professor. In both Europe and North America, the main gender imbalance in academia is now located at the top. The concern of university authorities and their desire to make a change are real, but a mere principled commitment to gender equality does not suffice. Concrete action plans are now being developed by several universities.  

The aim of the Forum was to analyse the present situation in a comparative perspective, to identify the possible causes of the unbalance and to critically evaluate the proposed remedies. It will address the following questions. Do universities discriminate despite their best intentions? Does the academic workplace appeal less to women than to men? If so, why? Will time solve the problem? If not, why not?  


The purpose of this Ethical Forum was to stimulate reflection on the important questions:

Why are women underrepresented at the top of the academic careers? Why does it matter? What can we do about it? 

The presentations and a large number of interesting relevant background documents can be found in the "DOWNLOADS 2016" section of this website.

Organizing committee: D. Willems (co-ordinator), E. De Keuleneer, H. Garmyn, J.P. Lambert, C. Longman, P. Loobuyck, B. Pattyn, G. Van der Perre, P. Van Parijs, J. Willems.