Aarhus University Seal


On 8 March, Aarhus University marked International Women’s Day by hosting the online conference ‘Gender Equality at AU’ for employees and managers.

The more than 400 conference participants, including many from the management, testify to the keen interest in gender equality at AU and in the new Action Plan for Gender Equality 2020-22.

Rector Brian Bech Nielsen welcomed participants, and Pro-Rector Berit Eika described the current status of gender equality at Aarhus University. Then came the four speakers – Professor Yvonne Benschop from Radboud University, Professor Jeremy Sanders from Cambridge University, CEO Eva Berneke from KMD and Professor Jens Hjorth from the University of Copenhagen – with specific input for how to work with gender equality. The presentations were based on the four focus areas of the university’s action plan: recruitment, career development, management and work place environment.

The presentations from the conference can be found here.

There was keen interest during the conference with a lot of participation from the participants – including critical questions about the decreasing proportion of female department heads and requests that the senior management team promptly finds inspiration in the speakers’ specific proposals. The moderator Nynne Bjerre Christensen included some of the comments in the final debate, where the speakers and Rector Brian Bech Nielsen made up the panel. The comments field will also be included in the follow-up on the conference.

Aarhus University has had gender equality as a focus area for a number of years, and the issues raised are well known. It is positive to see the development in the proportion of female professors, which has had a yearly increase of 1 per cent since 2014. Nevertheless, there is still notable gender distribution imbalance in a number of academic environments, and the obvious conclusion is that talent goes lost when the imbalance is so great.

In 2020 the proportion of females was:

  • Assistant professors: 41 per cent
  • Associate professors: 38 per cent
  • Professors: 24 per cent

So it is also important that the work with the four focus areas in the action plan still has a high priority while taking local needs into consideration.