Stockholm’s Universities Take a Lead on Gender Equality

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STOCKHOLM, March 8, 2019 — A new report from the Stockholm Academic Forum (Staf) states that 10 out of 18 universities in the capital of Sweden are now female-led, which amounts to 56 per cent. The national equivalent is at 42 per cent, which can be compared with 21 per cent in the UK. Meanwhile, only 18 per cent of the world’s top 250 institutions, as identified by the Times Higher Education, are led by women.

Among the highest-ranked universities in the world, which include seven Swedish universities, Sweden also has the highest percentage of female leadership at 57 per cent.  

“The high representation of women at leadership levels sends an important signal to visiting students and researchers. It also shows that Stockholm is a modern university city that strives for gender equality even though we still need to make progress in some areas,” says Maria Fogelström Kylberg, CEO of the Stockholm Academic Forum.

In Stockholm, a satisfactory gender balance in the student body was achieved some forty years ago and Stockholm now has a predominance of female students, who represent 59 per cent of the total number of registered students. The percentage of females in the research and teaching faculty is however comparatively low at 45 per cent.

Achieving gender parity among professors has also been a challenge. Today, women account for just 28 per cent of all professors in Stockholm and Sweden.

”When you use an academic merit-system, change takes time so even if we are not satisfied with the number, we are moving forward, and from a European perspective, the proportion of women with the rank of full professor in Sweden is relatively high,” says Maria Fogelström Kylberg.

Data collated in 2017 show that the proportion of female professors is about 24 per cent in Germany, 21 per cent in the Netherlands, and 26 per cent in the United Kingdom.

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About the Stockholm Academic Forum
The Stockholm Academic Forum (Staf) is the peak collaborative body of the City of Stockholm and its 18 higher education institutions. As the collective voice of its members, Staf promotes and supports Stockholm’s position as one of the world’s leading academic centres. For more information, visit


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