Gender Balance in Research Leadership

Prestige is both a research and an intervention project financed by the BALANSE Program, Research Council of Norway, and UiT The Arctic University of Norway. The project has a twofold goal: (1) advance knowledge on gendered quality assessments and implicit biases by uncovering how they impact career opportunities and the distribution of power and resources in research; (2) foster increasing awareness of the relevance of gender balance in research leadership and promote research-based organizational changes at the UiT.


UiT The Arctic University of Norway has a strong tradition of promoting gender balance within the institution. After two decades of research and systematic measures, the University has increased the representation of women in professorship/senior lectureship positions from 9% in 2001 to 38% in 2019. The new “Action Plan for Gender Equality, Diversity, and Inclusion (2020-2022/UiT)” makes it clear that the goal is to reach 40% of women in these top positions by the end of 2022.

A closer look into the data, however, still reveals great gender disparities in several of the individual units at the University. STEM fields and philosophy are, for example, way behind the target. Gender pay gaps can still be tracked as well. 

In addition, data shows that the overall progress in women’s representation in top positions at the University has not yet been translated to research leadership. When it comes to external funding, regarding both EU and RCN, while the absolute number of projects funded are proportionally distributed between women and men, projects lead by men have had a budget twice higher than projects lead by women.

Our hypothesis is that the gender gap can be explained by a gap of “prestige”.  “Prestige” is understood as an impression of respect and admiration based on a reputation for high quality, competence, success, and social influence. So understood, it seems that “prestige” has been more strongly associated with men and that biases have hindered women’s equality of opportunities even in an institution with a strong tradition of promoting gender balance such as the UiT.

With this in mind, Prestige Project aims at mapping and deconstructing the gendered impressions of "prestige" within and across the institution’s structures and further provide research-based normative guidance for the UiT on how to achieve gender balance beyond numerical parity.

Prestige Project is hosted at the Centre for Women’s and Gender Research at the UiT in close collaboration with UiT’s Gender Equality, Diversity, and Inclusion Committee. It is jointly financed by the Research Council of Norway and the UiT and runs from 2018-2021. The project is led by Kenneth Ruud, the Vice-Rector for research and development and leader of the Gender Equality, Diversity and Inclusion Committee. From 2018-2019, the project had been coordinated by Sigfrid Kjeldaas, postdoctoral fellow at Genøk, and it is now coordinated by Melina Duarte, researcher at the Centre for Women's and Gender Research and at the Department of Philosophy, 2020-2021.

Contact us if you want to engage in the project and share your ideas. In spite of a period of social reclusion, our network is constantly growing in online platforms.  

Thanks for visiting our web page, 

Melina Duarte

Project Coordinator 

           4 Research Fronts



Prestige – Gender Balance in Research Leadership

Centre for Women's and Gender Research, UiT The Arctic University of Norway, Postbox 6050, Langnes 9037, Tromsø, Norway
UiT Breiviklia, 1st floor, N-110, 9019 Tromsø
+ 77644329
melina.duarte(at) Show map