Gender Balance in the Society

The Learned Society of Wales is committed to encouraging a broad balance in terms of subject expertise (arts, sciences and social sciences), geographical location, gender, race/ ethnicity and age amongst the Fellowship.

Gender Balance in the Fellowship

In October 2013, the Council established a Working Group on Gender Balance chaired by Dame Teresa Rees. This concluded that the number of nominations for women was disproportionately low and that, as a consequence, women 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 so as to broaden the pool of nominated candidates, but not the scrutiny process. These changes included making the election process more visible, making an exception to the cap (of three) on the number of nominations a Fellow can make per year in the case of  female candidates, providing written guidance to the Scrutiny Committee Chairs and heightening the visibility of female Fellows.

Since then, the council has actively promoted these adjustments which are slowly beginning to produce some results. Last year (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 April 2016 26% of the newly elected Fellows were female, bringing the proportion of women in the overall Fellowship to 16.4%.