22 SES 08 C, Academic Work and Professional Development
Although the proportion of women among first-year students reached over fifty percent in recent cohorts, positions in the academic labour market are still highly stratified by gender. Women are strongly underrepresented in higher positions such as among professors. Job specifications, familial commitments and persistent traditional role models seem to restrain careers of women in the scientific community. Also, effects of endowment with social capital and specific practices within academic networks, which discriminate women, result in unequal gender ratios in higher positions in universities. Overall, these career effects are described in the literature as the “leaky pipeline” phenomenon. On the other hand is the proportion of women obtaining the educational entrance criteria to an academic career, the PhD, at Swiss universities constantly increasing. In the 1990s affirmative action programs for women in the public service sector and therefore also in most university-level educational institutions have been introduced in Switzerland as in many other European countries. This leads us to the following research question: Is the strong minority of women among professors in Switzerland a sign of genderspecific disadvantages or just a lingering reminder of genderspecific inequalities of the past?
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