Autumn 2003


Women and the University: A Report

How do women faculty members fare at the University of Haifa ?

        The advisor to the President and Rector on women’s affairs took the occasion to submit her first annual report on the status of women faculty members.  In doing so, Prof. Haya Bar-Itzhak of the Dept. of Hebrew Literature noted that the University is only the second Israeli institution to have compiled such a report.

        Women, according to the report, constituted 28.9% of the tenured and tenure-track lecturers at the university in the 2002/03 academic year.  That is, 132 of 457 faculty members.  The number and percentage of women faculty and their distribution by faculty and rank was one of two issues that Bar-Itzhak examined.

        The report’s findings, presented to the president and detailed in tables and graphs, “point to significant gaps between men and women faculty members.”  The report does not make any comparisons with other institutions, except to state that “in contrast to the Technion, the gap in the average time between Associate and Full Professor is closing….”  It goes on to note, though, that only 12 women at the University hold the rank of full Professor, compared to 83 men.

        The average time that it took men and women to be promoted from one rank to the other was the second issue that concerned the report.

        The report noticed a decline in the percentage of women as the ranks climbed higher: lecturer—39% are women; senior lecturer—32.3%; associate professor—27.4%; and full professor—12.6%.

        The various Faculties differ in their female component.  The Faculty of Sciences and Science Education has the lowest percentage of women (5.7%), and the Faculty of Education has the highest (61.9%).  The Social Welfare and Health Studies Faculty also has more female than male lecturers (60%-40%).  Women constitute 28% of both the Law and Humanities Faculties, but only 17.7% of the Social Sciences lecturers.

        The Faculty of Education numbers only four full professors, but two of them are women.  In that case, is the glass half full or half empty?  The highest percentage of female associate professors may be found in the Social Welfare and Health Faculty—fully 70% of this rank. Five of the Law Faculty’s six senior lecturers, the rank just below the professorship, are women, as are nine of the eleven lecturers, the category equal to Instructor at most American colleges, in the Education Faculty.

        An examination of the average time spent in every rank showed that men advance faster than women.  The report did not comment on whether women published fewer scholarly articles and books, the main criterion for advancement. 

            The report’s author called on the University management to “examine if there are built-in obstacles, such as an implicit assumption of a masculine life style within an academic career”—and to make every effort to remove them.  She said the university “should initiate and encourage the hiring and promotion of women” and told of “initial steps” toward this end.  Among these have been regular meetings of women faculty and discussions with the president and rector on their recommendations.


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