Ben-Gurion University to Require Gender Parity on Key Appointments Committees

The university is the first in Israel to require gender balance in committees, and by doing so hopes to increasing the number of female professors at the university

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The student center in Ben Gurion University of the Negev in Beersheva 2020.
The student center in Ben Gurion University of the Negev in Beersheva 2020. Credit: Eliyahu Hershkowitz

Ben Gurion University of the Negev will require equal numbers of men and women on its key committees, including the institution’s its Senior Appointments and Promotion Committee achieved gender balance and its faculty appointments subcommittees.

The resolution was passed this week by the university’s academic senate and it will be recorded in the institution’s rule book.

Ben-Gurion University is the first university in Israel to require gender balance in key committees, though in fact the senior appointments committee achieved gender parity in August, becoming the second Israeli university to do so.

The resolution stipulates that when gender balance on a committee cannot be achieved, ways to ensure gender-balanced voting are to be used.

The senate passed a number of additional resolutions aimed at advancing gender equity at the university. They include taking a proactive approach to granting professorship by reviewing the academic achievements of female faculty members, rather than waiting until potential candidates apply for a promotion.

The hope is that this will ultimately increase the number of female professors at the university.

It was also decided to reduce the teaching load of female faculty members in the first year following childbirth.

In addition, department meetings and other regularly scheduled events such as departmental seminars will end no later than 3:30 P.M., in an attempt to create a “family-friendly” environment.

In August, the Council for Higher Education in Israel published a plan for promoting gender equality in the institutions under its supervision. It would increase funding to institutions that meet gender equality goals. The program was allocated 7 million shekels ($2.2 million), to be distributed over a period of five years according to criteria such as the number of female faculty members in leadership roles and on key committees.

The proportion of women among faculty members declines as rank increases. According to data published by the council for 2018-19, whereas 57.4 percent of university lecturers are female, only 18.8 percent of full professors are women.

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