Gender monitoring (part 2): the proportion of women decreases with each step up the career ladder

In Switzerland, more women than men study at universities. Yet women professors are in the minority. This imbalance is also reflected in the grant applications submitted to the SNSF.

The decline in the proportion of women at progressive levels of the academic career ladder is sometimes described as “a leaky pipeline”. Data from the Federal Statistical Office (FSO) from 2020 show a distinctly leaky pipeline at universities in Switzerland and across all subject areas. In the social sciences and humanities (SSH), as well as in the life sciences (LS), women make up a majority both at the start and during their studies. But women hold only 30% (SSH) and 23% (LS) of professorships. In science, technology, engineering and mathematics (MINT), the situation is different. Here, female students are in the minority (36%). And the proportion of female professors is only half as high (18%).