Dr Adrian Lee, of the University’s Equality & Diversity Committee, said: “Our equality and diversity initiatives cover all nine protected characteristics as defined in the 2010 Equality Act – sex, race, age, disability, religion and belief, sexual orientation, gender reassignment, marital status and pregnancy / maternity. In the area of gender equality, the focus has rightly been on raising awareness about – and removing barriers for – women.
“We are, however, also aware of some of the specific issues faced by men. Men are under-represented in the student population as a whole; they are also significantly under-represented in a number of academic disciplines across all three faculties.
“In academic staff appointments, the data suggests that female candidates have a higher chance of being appointed than men. In the professional support services, there are areas where men are significantly under-represented. Likewise in academic departments, the support staff complement is often heavily weighted towards women, with some departments employing no men at all in these roles.
“The reasons for these circumstances are complex and the solutions will not be found overnight, but we are resolved to address these issues systematically and fairly, in the same way that we approach unfairness and discrimination faced by women.”
In wider society, men are confronted by other challenges which are significant from an equality perspective. Boys underperform at school compared to girls. Men are 20 times more likely than women to go to prison; they are much more likely to be victims of violent crime, are more likely to commit suicide and have a lower life expectancy than women. Men are also less likely to access mental health services and other forms of support when they need them.
Men currently have to wait longer than women before they receive a State pension and at certain stages in life, they are less well protected by equality legislation than women. These issues inevitably impact on men employed at the University and on the lives of our students.
Dr David Duncan, Chair of the Equality & Diversity Committee, said: “The bulk of our work to promote gender equality will continue to focus on securing equality for women. However, as a community, it is very important that we take all aspects of equality and diversity seriously. We are all diminished by unfairness and discrimination and should tackle it wherever it occurs. The message today is that gender equality is for everyone.”