"Gender bias in academia – a threat to academic values" (Prof. Tomas Brage, Lund University, Sweden)

© Ellen SandumTomas Brage, Universität Lund


Meritocracy, academic freedom for everybody and excellence in research and teaching are common and important core values for universities. However, there are many challenges to these, not the least from external pressure in a neo-liberal era. But the most important threat might come from internal short comings. In academia selections and evaluations are daily practices and important parts of e.g. career paths and assessment of students. Lately more and more evidence, research and studies show that our preconceived ideas – our bias – is a clear obstacle for a fair process and points to that mitigating its effects is essential to defend, not the least, the meritocratic principle.

In this talk I will discuss bias both as a psychological and individual problem, but also as a systemic, where processes get hi-jacked. I will discuss how it can lead to micro-aggressions and, if not counteracted, to worse – harassment and discrimination. I will bring up examples on how to mitigate this problem, by referring to some “toolboxes” and good practices, from European networks such as LERU.

About Tomas Brage

Tomas Brage is a professor of physics at Lund University. He has also worked at Vanderbilt University and NASA GSFC.  He is strongly involved in work on Gender and Science, where he is regularly giving talks on “Gender and Physics” around Europe. He is a steering group member of the LERU Policy Group for EDI and participate in the GENERA network and the GenderEX Horizon 2020 project. He is the chair of the section for equality, diversity and inclusion of the Swedish Physical Society and has led or co-led projects on Gender Certification, Antidiscrimination, Core Values, bi-focal mentoring and  Unconscious Bias observers in Lund and beyond.

Link to the Zoom Meeting

The lecture is part of the KiNSIS Colloquium, which takes place online on the first Wednesday of every month. Suggestions for topics for the colloquium can be submitted at any time at info@kinsis.uni-kiel.de.
The lecture by Tomas Brage had to be postponed to December 13, due to scheduling reasons. At the KiNSIS general meeting on 16 June 2023, it was discussed that one KiNSIS colloquium talk per year should be on Gender Equality and Diversity topics.