Higher Education

, Volume 66, Issue 2, pp 173–188 | Cite as

The different worlds of academia: a horizontal analysis of gender equality in Swedish higher education

  • Charlotte SilanderEmail author
  • Ulrika Haake
  • Leif Lindberg


Women are underrepresented in advanced positions in higher education in Europe. This study takes a horizontal perspective and focuses on the relationship between gender and discipline in order to combine research on gender in higher education with theories of disciplinary differences in academic cultures. The study points out substantial differences between disciplines in gender composition, specifically, the probability of a person leaving academia after earning a doctor’s degree and various attitudes towards gender equality work. Our approach, which is based on quantitative longitudinal as well as qualitative research methods, has yielded a more complex and contradictory picture of gender equality in higher education than have vertical cross-sectional studies.


Gender equality Horizontal analysis Academia Higher education Discipline 



This study was made possible through a grant from the Swedish Council for Working Life and Social Research.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  • Charlotte Silander
    • 1
    Email author
  • Ulrika Haake
    • 2
  • Leif Lindberg
    • 1
  1. 1.Linnaeus UniversityVäxjöSweden
  2. 2.Umeå UniversityUmeåSweden

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