Gender equality is one of the key challenges facing society today. Across the world, it manifests in many ways including in pay, employment opportunities and access to education. The United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) number 5 aims to tackle the issue of gender equality. As a matter of international concern, it is important for international students to know the efforts being made to tackle this problem. It is for this reason that we’ll examine the top universities for tackling gender equality globally. We’ll rely on Times Higher Education University Impact Rankings 2019 for this analysis.
1. Western Sydney University- Australia
The university was awarded an employer of choice for gender equality by the Federal Government’s Workplace Gender Equality Agency. She is also dedicated to combating sexual violence on campus through the development of a respectful relationships education programme to be implemented across the Australian university sector. A Gender Equality Strategy and Action Plan 2015-2020 has been implemented to focus on the areas where gender equality can be improved. One of the key aims for the plan is to support the university’s efforts in recruiting, retaining and helping female staff advance. Other measures that have been introduced in response to the plan are improved breastfeeding facilities on campus, additional leave for staff experiencing domestic violence and the development of a Gender Equality Policy.
2. Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam- Netherlands
Founded in 1880, VUA has been known for its distinctive approach to knowledge. It is an open organisation, strongly linked to people and society. The wo/men network at Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam in the Netherlands aims to improve the position of women in the university. The network aims to promote diversity and equal opportunities and tackle gender biases within the organisation. Women at the university organise events and mentoring programmes to promote gender equality discussions.
3. University of Gothenburg- Sweden
Gender equality at the University of Gothenburg is part of the remit of two organisations within the university in Sweden. The first is the Centre for Interdisciplinary Gender Research. The centre is a resource for researchers at the university. It provides opportunities for collaboration, forums and dialogue in connection with gender-related research. The second is the Swedish Secretariat for Gender Research, which focuses on gender research and gender equality. The university tackles society’s challenges with diverse knowledge. Strong research and study programmes attract scientists and students from around the world. It is environmentally certified and works actively for sustainable development.
4. University of Bologna- Italy
Established in 1088, the university has developed a Gender Equality Plan to promote the careers of women. It also seeks to prevent the loss of talent through women dropping out of their jobs. As a commitment to SDG 5, the university plans to publish gender data annually. Additionally, it will establish a help desk for those students with LGBTQ+ concerns. The university also aims to launch projects together with the Civilian Police and the Women’s Refuge alongside various voluntary associations. This is to ensure that students across the university are aware of gender violence. It is located in Italy.
4. University of Worcester- United Kingdom
In 2017, the university’s report stated that the institution’s gender pay gap was 3.16 per cent. This was far smaller than the UK’s national average of 17.4 per cent. The report also stated that 65 per cent of employees were women and that women are represented across all levels of seniority. Worcester ranks 5th of the top universities for tackling gender equality globally.
6. University of Auckland- New Zealand
This is New Zealand’s highest-ranked university. It is also the largest and most comprehensive and is spread across six main campuses. The university’s student population of 42,000 includes 8,000 international students representing over 120 countries. It has formal agreements with 265 universities. It is also the only New Zealand member of Universitas 21; the Worldwide Universities Network (WUN). It is also a member of the Association of Pacific Rim Universities. It has easy access to stunning beaches and rainforests.
Gender equality is a key challenge globally, thus it is necessary for international students to know the efforts made to tackle it. Attending any of the top universities for tackling gender equality affords students the opportunity to participate in the crusade. They will see first hand what is being done and contribute their quota in promoting gender equality.