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Tuesday, 30 January, 2001, 16:09 GMT
Cambridge's 'macho' culture
Cambridge University - Kings
Cambridge will have to work at equal opportunities
A survey of both academic and support staff at Cambridge University has identified an "insular and secretive 'macho' culture", dominated by white males.

The findings were made in an audit of equal opportunities policies and practices, commissioned the university.


At my college, if you're not seen around at weekend, you're seen as lazy

Survey respondent
But the research also indicated that over half the members of staff thought equal opportunities should be a priority issue for the university over the next few years.

And a large majority - 75% - recognised that the university needed to make progress in this area.

The university accepted the findings that 81% of disabled, 74% of ethnic minority and 66% of female lecturers said they had felt left out at some point while at Cambridge.

Heavy workload

Over a third saw being expected to work excessively long hours as a barrier to career progression.

trinity college
But the university was said to have a "strong equality foundation".
"At my college, if you're not seen around at weekend, you're seen as lazy," one respondent said.

Only 6.3% of professorships at the university were filled by women and they only made up 37.3% of full-time research posts, the study found.

Just 32% thought effective "people skills" were valued by senior academic staff and only 17% believed the university was good at identifying talent in staff from under-represented groups.

'Strong equality foundation'

But despite the results, consultants Schneider-Ross, who carried out the audit, said the university had a "strong equality foundation upon which to build".

This was endorsed by the university's vice-chancellor, Professor Sir Alec Broers, who had fully supported the report.


We knew that an audit like this would be hard-hitting, but this was the only way to really find out what the staff here think about equality at Cambridge

Professor Sir Alec Broers
"Equal opportunities are at the very heart of higher education, which is, after all, about developing individuals' potential to the full," Professor Broers said.

"This audit has shown that in striving for academic excellence, Cambridge people firmly support a strictly merit-based approach to appointments and promotions, and recognise the need to find new ways of developing the potential of a diverse population of staff," he said.

Professor Broers said the survey was a means of ensuring a move forward.

"We've done a lot of work on equality issues over the last decade or so, but we felt it was time to step back and take a fresh look at ourselves.

"We knew that an audit like this would be hard-hitting, but this was the only way to really find out what the staff here think about equality at Cambridge," he added.

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See also:

17 Oct 00 | Education
Cambridge fears fall in state pupils
05 Oct 00 | League Tables
Social inclusion in higher education
24 Jul 00 | Education
'Playground of the rich' warning
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