A NEW drive to inspire women to strive for top jobs in universities has been launched.

Women in Academia Now hopes to tackle the low numbers of senior women in higher education despite growing recognition in the corporate world that the talents and expertise of women bring enormous benefits.

Led by female academics at St Andrews, including Dr Aileen Fyfe of the School of History, Professor Ineke De Moortel of the School of Mathematics and Professor Sharon Ashbrook of the School of Chemistry, the project want to encourage more females to become successful academics.

Fyfe, who is also a member of the Young Academy of Scotland, said: “The female academic members of the Young Academy of Scotland provide a fantastic window on to the career paths of current mid-career women in academia, a career stage that is often overlooked amid advice to early-career women and celebrations of senior women as role models.

“These women show us what academia looks like for women now.”

The project is supported by the Young Academy of Scotland, the Royal Society of Edinburgh and the Wellcome Trust.

Campaigning to encourage women into academia has traditionally focused on the fields of science, technology and medicine. But Women in Academia Now insists that even in disciplines with more women overall, most of them are early or mid-career, with few reaching the most senior levels of academic recognition.

A new booklet details the careers of female members of the Young Academy of Scotland, which recognises emerging leaders in science and the humanities and reveals their routes to success by discipline, personal circumstances and opportunities.