Gender Balance in the Society

At The Learned Society of Wales we encourage balance in terms of subject expertise (arts, sciences and social sciences), geographical location, gender, race/ethnicity and age in the Fellowship.

Gender Balance in the Fellowship

In October 2013, the Council established a Working Group on Gender Balance chaired by Dame Teresa Rees. The group found that nominations for women were disproportionately low and that women therefore had less chance of being elected Fellows.

Having explored approaches used by other Societies, Dame Rees’s group came up with a set of recommendations to help correct the under‐representation of women. These involved adjustments to the current nomination process (not including the Scrutiny process) to broaden the pool of nominated candidates. Now, the election process is more visible and we introduced an exception to the cap (of three) on the number of nominations a Fellow can make per year in the case of  female candidates. We also have written guidance for the Scrutiny Committee Chairs and are heightening the visibility of our female Fellows.

The active promotion of these adjustments have begun to produce some results. In 2014/15 the proportion of female Fellows elected (35%) was the highest in the history of the Society, with women comprising nearly 15% of society fellowship. In 2018, 35% of the new Fellows were female, women comprised 20% of the Society’s Fellowship overall, and 27% of our council were female.