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Closing the Gender Gap: A Look at Female Achievements in Higher Education

A trend in higher education reveals increasing achievements of female students, indicative of a closing gender gap. However, women continue to face challenges that need to be addressed.

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Shivani Chauhan
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Closing the Gender Gap: A Look at Female Achievements in Higher Education

Recent observations have illuminated a promising trend in higher education: an increasing number of female students graduating and outshining their male counterparts. Universally, these achievements are seen as a progressive sign of a closing gender gap in academia. This shift towards greater female representation extends beyond undergraduate studies, permeating the halls of postgraduate classes where female enrollment is steadily rising.

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Progress Amid Challenges

However, it is crucial to acknowledge that this progress doesn't reflect an eradication of challenges. Women continue to grapple with societal expectations, gender biases, economic hurdles, and cultural barriers that can potentially impair their educational journey and career advancement. This discomfort felt by some towards the evolving parity underscores deep-seated issues regarding gender equality and the acceptance of women's success in traditionally male-dominated spaces.

Strides in Gender Equality

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Queen’s University in Belfast, a beacon of this progressive change, has been awarded the Athena Swan Gold Award for enhancing gender equality. The university has seen a remarkable 34% increase in women professors today, in stark contrast to 25 years ago. With ambitious plans to surge the percentage of women professors to 40% by 2030, Queen’s University is leading the charge in breaking gender barriers. Furthermore, the university has reformed its working practices and plans to pour resources into the Queen’s Global Institute for Women’s Leadership to improve access to higher education for disadvantaged schoolgirls.

WE4LEAD: Bridging the Gender Gap

Adding more impetus to this gender equality movement is the WE4LEAD project, co-funded by the European Union. The project is a concerted effort to grant equal access for women to leadership positions in higher education institutions. It is a direct response to the 'glass ceiling' phenomenon, where women find it difficult to ascend to leadership roles. The initiative, steered by Aix Marseille University, is a global undertaking aimed at evaluating gender inequalities and augmenting the number of women in key positions within institutions.

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