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Gender Equality Monitoring

Facts and Figures on Gender Equality

Just published, the UZH Gender Equality Monitoring Report indicates that the share of women at professorship level at UZH increased slightly in 2018. The good news is that things are progressing: in the last ten years the number of female full professors has doubled.
Marita Fuchs


Frauen streiken
The National Women’s Strike on 14 June will be calling for equality of opportunity for women.

The publication of UZH’s 2018 Gender Equality Monitoring Report coincides with the National Women’s Strike on 14 June. Despite the common theme, the timing is purely coincidental. The monitoring report systematically evaluates data related to gender equality. Equal opportunity for women and men is a key concern of the University of Zurich.

Comparing the latest results with the figures from 2008 reveals a positive development: the number of female full professors alone has doubled over the last ten years from 10.8 percent in 2008 to 21.2 percent in 2018. And yet women are still seriously underrepresented. The gap begins to get wider at postdoctoral level, and from there on the share of women decreases. It’s what’s known as a leaky pipeline or glass ceiling.

Christiane Löwe, head of the Office for Gender Equality and Diversity and a member of the University of Zurich’s Gender Equality Commission, sees so-called unconscious biases against women as one of the reasons. But she says that the Gender Equality Commission is working to create structures to eliminate this kind of mechanism. For example, care is being taken to ensure that the process for professorial appointments is fair. “It’s about achieving balance between the sexes,” says Löwe.

From entering university to doctoral level, the proportion of women is slightly higher than that of men. But women are seriously underrepresented at the level of professorships, accounting for only 21.2 percent.


At the end of 2018 there were 676 filled professorships (full, associate, and assistant professorships) at UZH. Of all the available professorships, 165, or 24.4 percent, were held by women. This marks the continuation of a long-term growth trend in female professors of 0.8 percent annually. In 2018 women accounted for 26.7 percent of professorial appointments, but a lower 18.5 percent of promotions.

The long-term growth trend in female professors of 0.8 percent annually continues.


Instructors continued to constitute an important group in 2018, numbering 4,237 in total, of whom 2,833 were mandated instructors, 802 Privatdozents, and 602 adjunct professors. At 36.4 percent, women accounted for a significantly larger proportion of instructors than professors. Here too there has been slow but steady growth over the years; ten years ago the share of female instructors was only 29 percent.

Junior researchers

A total of 142 assistant professorships represented a 21 percent share of this level of junior researchers in 2018. The share of women at this level was 36.6 percent.

Women accounted for a total of 50.4 percent of approved projects receiving UZH “Forschungskredit” research funding (Candoc and Postdoc); this is somewhat higher than the percentage of women at doctoral and postdoc level. Female applicants had a somewhat lower success rate than their male counterparts (26.9 percent vs. 30.4 percent).

Parity has been achieved at the level of non-professorial academic staff.

Non-professorial academic staff

On the cut-off date (31 December 2018), 5,351 non-professorial academic staff were employed at UZH, over half (53.6 percent) of whom were women. There are differences from faculty to faculty, with the proportion of women non-professorial staff well below the UZH average at the Faculty of Business, Economics and Informatics, and significantly above the average at the Vetsuisse Faculty.

Administrative and technical staff

There were 3,388 people employed as members of the administrative and technical staff (ATP). In the administrative (ADM: 1,970 people), medicinal and laboratory (ML: 860 people), cleaning (REI: 129 people), technical and operating staff (TB: 328 people), and academic associates in Central Services (WMZ: 101 people) staff categories, the overall proportion of women was 65.6 percent. That is substantially larger than the men’s share of ATP staff.

Women are seriously underrepresented in the deans’ offices and departments, clinics, institutes, and centers.


The proportion of women in management bodies is increasing only slowly. There are currently two women on the Board of the University, and two on the Executive Board. At the moment, however, there is only one female dean (versus six male deans), and women are also underrepresented in leadership roles at departments, institutes, and clinics.

Providing a snapshot

You’ll find plenty more data relevant to gender equality in UZH’s Equal Opportunity Monitoring Report. The Office for Gender Equality has been preparing the report on behalf of the Executive Board of the University since 2007. It provides concrete indications regarding implementation of the Gender Policy Code of Conduct and the UZH Gender Equality Action Plan.