There are nearly twice as many male as female researchers at Canadian universities, despite more than 50 percent of Canadian PhD students being female, a new report from the Council of Canadian Academies says. The group undertook the study after noticing a lack of female candidates for the Canada Excellence Research Chairs program in 2008.
The report notes that "the higher the rank, the lower the percentage of women in comparison to men." For example, it says that women make up about half of sessional instructors and lecturers and 42.6 percent of assistant professors, while they then make up 36.2 percent of associate professors and 21.7 percent of full professors. "These results indicate that despite very strong progress at earlier career stages for women, some important barriers remain, suggesting a glass ceiling in the highest levels of academia," the report says.
The Nature News Blog adds that the report makes a number of suggestions as to how to achieve better parity. "We need better data on research career trajectories from granting councils and academic institutions. Second, we need a more family-friendly academic environment that is flexible with respect to part time work and interrupted careers," the blog says.