Women lead one in six of top universities around the world

Women lead one in six of the top universities across the globe, according to new research released.

Imperial College London - Via Shutterstock
Imperial College London – Via Shutterstock

New analysis of Times Higher Education World University Rankings shows that in the 2015-16 rankings women lead just 33 per cent of the world’s top 200 universities.

Despite the low percentage of women-led universities, the analysis showed that the gender gap is narrowing. Rankings for the previous year, showed just 28 women (14 per cent) led the 200 universities.

Of the top ten universities led by women, two of them are UK based: University of Oxford, led by Louise Richardson and Imperial College London, led by Alice Gast.

Other universities amongst the top ten include Harvard University, US; University of Washington, US; McGill University, Canada; Karolinska Institute, Sweden; and Wageningen University and Research Centre, Netherlands.

Sweden topped the rankings for the country with the highest number of women-led universities, with a total of four out of six of its top 200 universities.

Speaking to Times Higher Education (THE), Suzanne Fortier, principal and vice-chancellor of McGill University, said, “So when we think of how many female presidents we might hope to have, we already know that the upper limit is probably around 23 per cent.”

“When we try to set goals it is important to know what would be achievable.”

“It will take a little bit of time for that to get through the pipeline but eventually we might see parity at every level and I certainly hope we will.”

You can view the full list of 200 universities here.


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Alison is the Digital Content Editor for WeAreTheCity. She has a BA Honours degree in Journalism and History from the University of Portsmouth. She has previously worked in the marketing sector and in a copywriting role. Alison’s other passions and hobbies include writing, blogging and travelling.

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