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The glass ceiling stopping female professors has been broken

Published Apr 16, 2010

Over the past two years, the number of female professors at KTH has doubled. So says Gustav Amberg, vice president of faculty renewal and equality at KTH. The medicine which will make university a more equal workplace is called Tenure Track.

Gustav Amberg
Gustav Amberg, vice president of faculty renewal and equality at KTH.

“Today, 8% of KTH’s professors are women. Our objective is to achieve 15% by 2012. Within 5 to 10 years, when these changes we are now making have had full impact, we expect to have even better figures – between 40% and 60% women,” says Gustav Amberg.

The reason behind it all is the career system Tenure Track, which after 2012 is expected to contribute to KTH being a more equal workplace. This will take place with the university being able to offer clearer career paths, where appointments are predictable and where future professors know what will apply from day one.

“As of today, there are many women who opt out of an academic career and dropout from KTH following their dissertation. At the same time, several surveys on this issue show that women, to a greater extent than men, are demanding clarity and clear rules. Our whole approach to this need is being addressed by making the system more predictable,” says Gustav Amberg.

In more concrete terms, this means that KTH when appointing an assistant lecturer will plan its need for lecturers over a five-year period and its professors for a further five years. To ensure success KTH is also creating a career development system.

“Such clarity and predictability in Tenure Track will be favourable to both men and women who want to have a career at KTH, but in particular so that KTH can recruit more female researchers. It is also important to point out that Tenure Track is a profound and permanent change for an academic career at KTH. It is not a short-term initiative,” says Gustav Amberg.

KTH is the first school of learning in Sweden to use Tenure Track; KI and Stockholm University are close behind as they have also started to take a closer look at the career system. The need for a single solution is considerable.

“Swedish and European universities do not have a common career system, instead it is a quagmire of different types of solutions,” says Gustav Amberg.

Tenure Track has so far been a success - between 8 to 10 applicants per post under Tenure Track. This should be compared with a few applicants per post as was the case was before.

For more information, contact Gustav Amberg at 08 - 790 75 34 or

Peter Larsson

Belongs to: About KTH
Last changed: Apr 16, 2010