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Data reveals persistent gender gap in financial research

Women make up only 20% of researchers working in finance departments at leading universities and their representation decreases with seniority, data from the Swedish House of Finance shows. Sweden has the second highest female representation after Australia, but on the professorial level, it ranks third.

The Swedish House of Finance (SHoF) at the Stockholm School of Economics is now launching the “Women in Finance Database”, a tool to monitor the participation of women working at finance departments at leading research institutes around the world. SHoF collected information about 5,653 researchers at 133 research institutions across 20 countries. All finance departments and divisions at universities and business schools featured in UT Dallas Business School’s Global Top 100 and European Top 50 rankings were included. As of June 2021, only one out of every five researcher in finance was a woman, the data shows.

Fewer women with increasing seniority

This figure, however, varies greatly across countries, universities, and hierarchical levels. The proportion of female researchers declines with increasing seniority, which is a striking pattern found in almost all countries and institutes. This pattern appears to be even stronger among the highest ranked institutions.

 The Women in Finance database will become a panel dataset that is updated on a yearly basis. Over time, one will be able to analyze researchers’ movement patterns, including their position changes, and dropout rates, and whether these differ from their male peers. 

“The tool is a service to the academic community. The data can be used for benchmarking. If you want to say something about the diversity of your own research group, it is of course much easier if you can compare it to others or to an average,” Göran Robertsson, Executive Director, Swedish House of Finance, says.

Increases innovative thinking

In Sweden, there is a total of 32 female researchers working in the three Swedish universities featured in the database (The Stockholm School of Economics, Stockholm University, and the University of Gothenburg). After Australia, Sweden has the second highest female representation, with 29% of academic positions filled by women. On the full professor-level, however, the country is third, behind Norway and Canada, with 19% female professors. 

“It is good to keep in mind that we are often talking about only a handful of female professors. So, if one of them moves or retires, institutions and/or countries can plummet or rise fast in the rankings. On a similar note, it is tougher for large departments to have a high percentage of women relative to tiny departments,” says Marieke Bos, Deputy director and researcher at Swedish House of Finance.

“A more diverse staff will increase innovative thinking, improve the work environment, and eventually lead to higher knowledge for society at large,” she adds.

Access and learn more about the Women in Finance Database.

For more information, please contact:

Nathalia Ribeiro Ariza
Research Communication Manager
+46 8 736 9224

SSE Gender Equality Finance Press release