Method for providing a good overview of the representation of women/men academics

In France, the Social Audit is an annual report prepared by the Human Resources Department. A 2007 French law requires that universities have to report on their social policy every year.

In a recapitulative document, the Social Audit summarizes the main data and indicators allowing to monitor the social situation in the University and to measure the changes occurred since the previous year and the one before. It provides information on: employment, salaries and additional charges, living and working conditions, training and professional relationships, hygiene and safety conditions. The document also reviews on the disability staff situation and the social action.

Regarding the situation on gender equality, the GenderTime team participated in encouraging a systematic presentation of gender-disaggregated data in the Social Audit and to the inclusion in 2014 of a new chapter on “Parity and Governance” including men-women representation in the different decision-making bodies of the university.

A 2011 Decree specifies that the Social Audit in State’s public institutions must be presented to the Technical Committee.

UPEC can share below one method for analysing statistical data.

To give an overview of the proportion of female/male academics (professors involved in research in French university, female in yellow, male in blue), the French Ministry of higher education uses the Rader (Spider) chart, taken up by UPEC (for illustration, see the graphic below).

Chart title: Proportion of academics (professors involved in research at UPEC), by category of discipline, in September 2015. 

Data that is arranged in columns or rows on a worksheet can be plotted in a radar chart.

A Radar Chart is a graphical method of displaying multivariate data in the form of a two-dimensional chart of several quantitative variables represented on axes starting from the same point.

In France, the National Universities Council (Conseil national des universités) establishes the grouping of academic disciplines by categories and gives each of them a number. The Council determines too the numbering of individual discipline.

In UPEC’s case, We chose to illustrate the proportion of female/male in each discipline (74 disciplines in total) with a Spider chart (see the numbers outside the graphic). We could have also studied the proportion by categories but which might have given less precision even if We could have gained clarity in readability with only 11 categories.

All axis starting from the central point represent the plotted « X » values (disciplines). The circles represent the Y-axis (plotted « Y » values), which correspond to the percentage from 0% to 100%.

The graphic provides the results at a glance: a majority of women are under-represented at UPEC particularly in Medicine and in the so-called « masculine » disciplines of Sciences such as mathematics, chemistry and mechanics (value <50%).


** Please take into account that the larger the number of categories (X-axis), the less the graphic is readable