Gender Coefficient in the Full Professor Programme – UPC Polytechnic University of Catalonia (ES)

Universitat Politècnica de Catalunya (UPC) is a public research and higher education institution in engineering, architecture, science and technology. Gender stereotypes mean that UPC has a low percentage of women students (less than 30 % of BSc and MSc students). This percentage is similarly low across all categories of academic career, falling to its lowest percentage in the full professor category. In 2010, UPC established a Promotion Plan, which internally evaluates all professors qualifying for full professors according to ANECA. This evaluation is used to decide the departments in which full professor positions will be created.

After several calls, a glass ceiling was identified in the highest category in 2016, with women accounting for only 8.6 % of full professors. UPC approved an affirmative measure to correct the inequalities and structural obstacles that hinder the equal development of women’s academic careers. The Full Professor Programme applies a gender coefficient, which is a correction coefficient in the final scores of women candidates. The gender coefficient is calculated on the basis of the percentage of women professors in the lower category, and the goal is to reach the same percentage of women full professors (category A) as the percentage in category B.

In 2017, a coefficient of 1.15 was applied, which has since been maintained or increased. In addition, in 2021, 5 % of the full professor positions opened were guaranteed to women candidates and the coefficient applied was 1.25. 

This measure immediately increased the numbers of women promoted to full professor, with 12.9 % of women in this category in 2021. The measure also promotes a greater presence of women in decision-making positions by having more women in the higher categories. Finally, it has an important impact on organisational culture, including acceptance of transformative and structural measures to promote gender equality.