There has been a 4 percent rise in the number of women professors in universities throughout the UK, according to the latest survey.

It is no different at the University of Sussex where there are 36 female professors and 122 male professors.

This means that female professors amount to 22.8 percent at Sussex. This shows an increase of 3.8 percent from the figures collated in 2009.

Sussex is also above the national average of about 19.8 percent.

The figures for the number of female academic staff in general are slightly higher. At Sussex 39.4 percent of academic staff identify as female.

A university spokesperson said: “Sussex already has an above-average proportion of female professors. But we want to do even better, which is why we have signed up to the Athena SWAN charter, pledging to attract, support and retain female scientists.”

Last year, the university joined Athena SWAN Charter, a scheme that recognises excellence in Science, Engineering and Technology (SET).

With this, the university hopes to attract and improve job prospects for women in science.

At the time Professor Michael Farthing, Vice-Chancellor said: “We recognise that women remain under represented in many of our science and engineering schools and departments, especially at senior levels; we are seeking, through joining Athena SWAN, to take action to attract, support and retain talented female staff throughout our SET departments.”

In the university’s application to the Equality Challenge Unit (ECU) Professor Farthing outlined: “I pledge the university to monitor our progress towards an organisational culture where all can thrive, are equally valued and experience equality of opportunity for career progression, and provide an annual account of the university’s work and future plans for improvement.”

As a member of the Charter, the university will be able to apply for bronze, silver or gold awards.

General Secretary for the University and College Union (UCU), Sally Hunt, said that although the increase was a very positive thing, there is still a lot to be done.

She said: “I am pleased that there has been a rise in the number of female professors in the sector. However, universities still have more to do to ensure that staff are promoted on merit irrespective of their background or gender.”

“Students want to be taught by the best and brightest, and staff want to work in universities where gender is not an issue when it comes to career advancement.”

According to the latest survey women are the most affected by low salaries and unemployment. Unemployment amongst women has hit 1.1 million in December 2011, the worst in 23 years.

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