Publish Date: 06.03.2020

Category: News from the University

“An Equal World is an Enabled World.” This is the theme of this year's International Women's Day, which has been celebrated since 1911, although at that time the celebration was held on 19 March. The message is clear: equality is a prerequisite for social and economic development. According to the latest report of the World Economic Forum, Slovenia has the smallest differences between women and men in education. At the University of Ljubljana, 60% of students are women and 40% are men, and the gender ratio among University of Ljubljana employees is balanced: 53% women and 47% men.

The day that celebrates women's economic, political and social equality and achievements carries the message of achieving equal opportunities in all fields of activity. The latest report by the World Economic Forum (January 2020), which measures the gender gap in politics, economy, education and health in 153 countries, ranks Slovenia 36th. The smallest difference in the equal opportunities of men and women can be observed in education, followed by health, then the economy and ultimately politics.

At the University of Ljubljana, there are about 60% female students and 40% male students in the first- and second-cycle programmes, and about 55% female students and 45% male students in the doctoral programmes. The gender ratio is fairly balanced among employees at the University of Ljubljana, with 53% women and 47% men. Nonetheless, academic positions are dominated by men. For a hundred years now, researchers and university teachers have been predominantly men. However, over the last ten years, the proportion of men among university teachers has been declining, with the ratio between female and male assistant professors being about 50:50, so that the gender structure is increasingly balanced across all faculty ranks.

Still, men predominate among the executives. Only six University of Ljubljana member institutions are led by women as deans. Over the past hundred years, the University of Ljubljana has had only one female rector – Andreja Kocijančič, who began her term in 2005. Its first female vice-rector was Alenka Šelih, elected in 1988. The Faculty of Arts obtained the first female dean among all the University of Ljubljana member institutions: Alma Sodnik. The first woman to teach at the University of Ljubljana was Fanny Susan Copeland from Ireland, who came to Ljubljana in 1922 and stayed there for the rest of her life. She taught English language and literature at the Faculty of Arts. Another prominent woman in the history of the University of Ljubljana was Ana Mayer, who was the first female student to receive a doctoral degree at the University. At that time, the University was a "male" institution, and the position of women in society in general was also subordinated to that of men. It is also interesting to note that the first Slovenian woman with a doctoral degree was Marija Urbas, who received her PhD in 1906 at the University of Graz. At the time there was not yet a Slovenian university. 

On 8 March, everyone should be aware that this is a holiday that is important not only for women, but for society and the world as a whole, because it is only an equal world that is an enabled world. 

We congratulate all women on this important international holiday.