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Inclusive Cambridge: promoting gender equality


The University of Cambridge is committed to closing the gender pay gap.  Below you can find out about the work we are doing to achieve this. 


1. Institutional Culture and Family Friendly Actions

  • COVID-19 has had a significant impact on the Higher Education sector.  The University's people-first response has included a raft of policy and practice changes including:
    • Developing COVID impact statements to allow academic and research staff to disclose difficulties in carrying out their usual duties.  COVID impact assessments are to be taken into account in recruitment, promotion and Staff Review and Development activities;
    • Launching a repurposed Career Development Fund, previously the Returning Carers Fund, which will support careers of all staff impacted by COVID-19 through the provision of financial support;
    • Providing extensive guidance and resources to help staff manage their health and wellbeing, whether home- or workplace-based.  Enhanced online counselling provision should help to ensure the University's culture allows everyone to progress equally.
    • Producing new guidance which enables staff to work flexibly, including remotely, and ensures, where feasible, staff with caring responsibilities are supported.
  • We continue to support employees with caring responsibilities, and work continues on the development of a fourth workplace nursery;
  • To date, 148 participants have completed the first round of the Inclusive Leadership programme, with a further 100 participants due to complete by the end of the 2021 academic year.  The programme aims to address bias in key decision-making areas to create a culture where all may flourish.

2. Career Progression and Pay Actions

  • We have a number of established programmes and initiatives that play an important part in supporting the career progression of women, including the Returning Carers Scheme, the Supporting Parents and Carers at Cambridge (SPACE) network (resources for staff with caring responsibilities) and the CV mentoring scheme.
  • Up to March 2020, 179 women in professional services roles engaged with specific career development programmes, including career development workshops and one-to-one coaching sessions, with a further 64 women from April 2020 onwards.
  • Over the last three years, women have been more successful than men in our academic promotions system (the success rate for women was on average 73.9%, compared to 68.8% for men), which we believe is attributable to the following:
    • We have increased investment in our academic promotions system which has enabled more deserving candidates to obtain recognition and reward;
    • We encourage greater departmental and School-level focus in monitoring promotion processes and ensuring that all eligible staff who meet the promotion criteria are brought forward for consideration;
    • Participation in the CV Mentoring Scheme has increased significantly, from 32 mentees and 23 mentors in the 2017 round, to 57 mentees and 59 mentors in the 2019 round.  The increase in mentors highlights institutional recognition of the important role individual advice and support plays in the promotion process, and personal commitment from senior academics to support junior colleagues.
  • In 2020, we were due to launch a new academic promotions scheme (the ACP), with more inclusive criteria to help more women and others who are underrepresented at senior levels to progress.  The launch of this scheme has been delayed as a result of COVID-19.
  • As a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, and its impact on the University's financial situation, the University has limited the use of its reward and progression schemes for the 2021 academic year.  The only scheme that has continued is for those in its most junior grades, of which two thirds are women.

3. Recruitment Actions

  • The Diverse Recruitment Framework (DRF), launched in Lent Term 2020, assists institutions in embedding the principles of diverse recruitment into all phases of the process, from advertisement, to shortlisting and interviewing.
  • Up to December 2020, 392 employees had attended the Recruitment Essentials training, which is designed to ensure fair and transparent recrutiment practices.
  • During 2019-2020, women comprised 32% of all applicants to Academic roles, with 43% of those offered a post.  This represents an increase from 2018 where women made up 33.1% of those offered Academic positions.


For information on the work that Cambridge University Press and the University of Cambridge Local Examinations Syndicate are doing, please see our 2020 Gender Pay Gap report.