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Malta with second-lowest share of female academic staff at tertiary level

More 'family-friendly measures' were needed

Only 34.4 per cent of academic staff in tertiary education is female. Photo: Darrin Zammit LupiOnly 34.4 per cent of academic staff in tertiary education is female. Photo: Darrin Zammit Lupi

Malta's share of female academic staff in tertiary education is second lowest in Europe, a new report has found, with only 34.4 per cent of educators being women.

A report published by the European Commission found that across the EU, females represented around 40 per cent of the academic staff profession, with the figure being even lower in Malta.

Greece tops the list for the lowest share, with a mere 32.7 per cent of staff being female, followed closely by Malta.

On the other end of the scale, Latvia registered the highest share with 55.7 per cent of staff being female followed by Lithuania (56.1 per cent) and Finland (51.1 per cent).

The European Commission said in its report that it had identified a clear pattern when comparing 2000 data with that from 2015 and concluded that females were more represented in academia, with only one EU member state, Latvia, registering a decrease in the number of women in higher education posts.

Contacted by the Times of Malta following the publication of the report, the University's Education Faculty dean Sandro Caruana said the pattern identified by the Commission is a direct reflection of what is found in the educational system.

"The presence of female teachers is very high in kindergartens and primary schools, but less so at secondary level and even less so in post-secondary institutions," Prof. Caruana said.

Pointing to the Faculty of Education, Prof. Caruana said that a number of the female staff there were pursuing post-graduate studies but on a larger scale, more family-friendly measures were needed to help more women “reap the fruit of their studies more fully”. In turn, they would be better equipped to further their academic career.

Improvements to the educational system in order to ensure more gender equality should also involve helping males understand their importance in sharing duties related to upbringing of children and of responsibilities within the home, he added.

“This would open doors to women who have possibilities of embarking on academic careers but often find it difficult to do so.

“Tertiary education offers flexible hours of work but often this advantage is not capitalised upon well enough, also because of the volume of work, including administrative duties, of academics,” Prof. Caruana went on.

This report, published by the Commission’s Education, Audiovisual and Culture Executive Agency aims to provide an insight into the realities faced by higher education academic staff.

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