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The Archaeologist of the Future is Likely to be a Woman: Age and Gender Patterns in European Archaeology

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A recent study into the archaeological profession in 21 European countries resulted in recognising gender equality as a major topic that needs attention. The overall trend is that women will form the future majority of workers in archaeology. However, the conditions under which women work differ by country, and in several countries, women are paid less and are not well represented in leadership positions. Gender equality needs to be put on the agenda and each country should take measurements to close the gap.
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The Archaeologist of the Future is Likely to
be a Woman: Age and Gender Patterns in
European Archaeology
Irena Lazar, Faculty of Humanities, University of Primorska, Koper, Slovenia
Tina Kompare, Institute for Mediterranean Heritage, Science & Research Centre,
University of Primorska, Koper, Slovenia
Heleen van Londen, Department of Archaeology, Faculty of Humanities,
Amsterdam Centre of Ancient Studies and Archaeology, University of Amsterdam,
Turfdraagsterpad 9, 1012XT, Amsterdam, The Netherlands
E-mail: h.vanlonden@uva.nl
Tine Schenk, Norwegian Association of Researchers, Trondheim, Norway
ABSTRACT
________________________________________________________________
A recent study into the archaeological profession in 21 European countries
resulted in recognising gender equality as a major topic that needs
attention. The overall trend is that women will form the future majority of
workers in archaeology. However, the conditions under which women work
differ by country, and in several countries, women are paid less and are not
well represented in leadership positions. Gender equality needs to be put
on the agenda and each country should take measurements to close the
gap.
________________________________________________________________
Re
´sume
´:Une e
´tude re
´cente sur le me
´tier d’arche
´ologue dans 21 pays
europe
´ens a eu pour effet de conside
´rer l’e
´galite
´des sexes comme un sujet
important qui ne
´cessite une attention particulie
`re. La tendance ge
´ne
´rale qui
se de
´gage veut que les femmes constitueront a
`l’avenir la majeure partie
des travailleurs dans l’arche
´ologie. Toutefois, les conditions dans lesquelles
les femmes travaillent diffe
`rent d’un pays a
`l’autre et, dans plusieurs d’entre
eux, elles sont moins paye
´es et sont peu repre
´sente
´es aux postes de
direction. L’e
´galite
´des sexes doit devenir une pre
´occupation majeure, et
chaque pays doit prendre des mesures pour re
´duire cet e
´cart.
________________________________________________________________
Resumen: Un estudio reciente sobre la profesio
´n arqueolo
´gica en 21 paı
´ses
europeos dio como resultado el reconocimiento de la igualdad de ge
´nero
como un tema de importancia que necesita atencio
´n. La tendencia global
es que las mujeres formara
´n la futura mayorı
´a de trabajadores en
RESEARCH
ARCHAEOLOGIES
2014 World Archaeological Congress
Archaeologies: Journal of the World Archaeological Congress (2014)
DOI 10.1007/s11759-014-9263-6
arqueologı
´a. Sin embargo, las condiciones bajo las que trabajan las mujeres
difieren por paı
´s, y en varios paı
´ses, las mujeres ganan menos y no esta
´n
bien representadas en posiciones de liderazgo. Es necesario que la igualdad
de ge
´nero sea incorporada a la agenda y cada paı
´s debe tomar medidas
para eliminar estas diferencias.
_______________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________
KEY WORDS
Archaeology,Gender balance,Europe,Profession
_______________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________
Introduction
Discovering the Archaeologists of Europe 2014, a Europe-wide survey has
recently (2012–14) been conducted on the archaeological profession (Aitch-
ison et al. 2014) (Figure 1). Comparable information was collected through
questionnaires in 21 European countries addressing workforce size, age and
gender patterns, disability status, countries of origin (mobility), contracts
(full-time or part-time), average salaries, and qualifications. The results
show interesting trends and differences that are relevant and need to be
addressed. The following article discusses how different gender patterns are
visible in relation to archaeologists’ ages across three nations.
In the future, as is shown in Fig. 2, the archaeological profession will be
dominated by women. The pattern shows a similar trend for most Euro-
pean countries, but the current situation differs substantially in individual
countries. In total, across the 21 participating countries the gender balance
in archaeology is 50.7% female, 49.3% male.
In several countries women already form the majority of the archaeolog-
ical workforce, such as in Greece where 76% of archaeologists are women,
Italy where 71% are, Cyprus 68%, Slovenia and Norway 63%. In other
countries males dominate; 64% of Romanian archaeologists are men, in
Poland the figure is 61% and also in Flanders (61% male) (Aitchison et al.
2014). These figures need to be contextualised in order to fully understand
separate or common issues on gender equality.
This article provides contextual information for three of the participat-
ing European countries—Slovenia, the Netherlands, and Norway—with the
purpose of raising awareness. What power will women have? Is the domi-
nation reflected only in their number? Why do men leave the profession?
Gender equality is defined and expressed through various denominators
throughout the European member states and can be measured in different
ways—for example by who fills leadership positions, income, job security,
maternity and paternity leave or the ability to raise a family and care for
I. LAZAR ET AL.
the children. The World Economic Forum’s Global Gender Gap report
(Schwab et al. 2013) presents a strong methodology to compare gender
imbalances across nations. It ranks Norway third best in the world, the
Netherlands 13th and Slovenia on position 38. The contributions in this
article are not built around a single methodology, but aims to offer insight
into the countries’ background.
Across the 21 participating countries, women make up the majority of
the archaeological workforce aged up to 40, but men forming the majority
above that age (Figure 2).
Figure 1.Countries participating in the Discovering the Archaeologists of Europe
2014 project
The Archaeologist of the Future is Likely to be a Woman
Women in Slovene Archaeology (Irena Lazar and Tina
Kompare)
In 2008, the predecessor Discovering the Archaeologists of Europe examined
the archaeological profession in Slovenia and identified the feminisation of
this profession which has now been reconfirmed within the current research
in 2014 (Pintaric
ˇand Novakovic
´2008; Kompare et al. 2014). It is worth
stressing that women occupy different work posts and positions in Slovenian
archaeology; their work is not limited to specific areas of archaeology (such
as the processing of materials or excavations), but they can be found in high-
responsibility positions, such as company managers, directors of museums,
research institutes and faculty, as well as being Academy (SAZU—Slovenska
akademija znanosti in umetnosti/Slovenian Academy of Sciences and Arts)
members. A more detailed presentation about women in Slovenian archaeol-
ogy and the feminisation of this field in Slovenia will be presented in a forth-
coming article by Tina Kompare and Irena Lazar (Kompare and Lazar 2014).
The data selected in that work are also included in this article.
The beginning of institutionally organised archaeology in present day
Slovenia is generally considered to have taken place in the year 1851, when
the Kaiser and Ko
¨nig Central Committee, charged with the protection of
artistic and historical monuments, was established (C
ˇres
ˇnar et al. 2013:6).
Women first appear in Slovene archaeological practice as late as the early
20th century—and even then merely as amateurs. It was only after the Sec-
ond World War that women entered professional archaeology as active
participants—almost half a century later than in the American and wider
English-speaking world (Claassen 1994). The pioneer in present day Slove-
nia was the Duchess of Mecklenburg (1856–1929), born as Princess Maria
Figure 2.Age bands of the archaeological workforce in 21 countries
I. LAZAR ET AL.
von Windischgraetz, who conducted excavations in Slovenia between 1905
and 1914 at such sites as Stic
ˇna (Gabrovec et al. 2006:217–220; Gabrovec and
Terz
ˇan 2008 [2010]:19–32; Boz
ˇic
ˇ2009), Vac
ˇe (Stare 1955:13–58), Magdale-
nska gora (Hecken 1978; Tecco Hvala et al. 2004), and Vinica. She only got
involved in archaeology in her middle age as an amateur and acquired most
of her knowledge by cooperating with archaeologists such as Alfred Go
¨tze.
She financed her excavations herself and her work received huge recognition
when her excavations in S
ˇentvid near Stic
ˇna were visited by the esteemed
European pre-historian Oscar Montelius in 1913. Her rich collection con-
tained several thousand items from the Bronze and Iron Ages, which were
then sold by her daughter Maria Antoniette (with the permission of King
Alexander) at auction in 1934 (American Art Association 1934). They were
mostly purchased by the Peabody Museum at Harvard (Polizzotti Greis
2005) and by the Ashmolean Museum in Oxford; only a small number of
these finds were donated to the National Museum of Slovenia.
Archaeology Studies
Archaeology became an independent academic discipline in Slovenia in the
academic year 1923/1924 (Novakovic
´et al. 2004:11). Senior students were
exclusively men, although there were four women among the junior stu-
dents (ibid., 28). Between 1926 and 1944, 48 students graduated with
archaeology listed as their minor or parallel study field. 38 students (26
men and 12 women) studied archaeology as a parallel study course, while
10 students (five men and five women) studied archaeology as a minor
subject (ibid., 42). The proportion of female graduates (35%) was fairly
high by the standards of the period (ibid., 44).
After the Second World War, Slovenian archaeology had entirely lost its
pre-war teachers and experts. There is no accurate record of graduates
between 1946 and 1950, but in academic year 1950/1951 archaeology
finally achieved the status of an independent subject. Between 1946 and
1960 38 students graduated, 40% of whom were women (Novakovic
´et al.
2004:59). Almost all of these graduates continued their professional careers
in various institutions, either in Slovenia or Yugoslavia. In 1952 the first
woman to receive a PhD in archaeology graduated from Ljubljana Univer-
sity (ibid., 61); in 1955 the first female assistant was employed in archaeol-
ogy studies. Over the period from 1961 to 1970 the number of graduates
declined slightly, as only 21 students finished their studies, 10 of whom
were women (ibid., 71). These graduates mostly found employment in
either regional or city museums (ibid., 72). Between 1971 and 1979 the
number of graduates increased to 34, 44% of whom were women (ibid.,
76), and between 1980 and 1989 37 students graduated (46% women),
The Archaeologist of the Future is Likely to be a Woman
with numbers rising to 46 in the following decade (63% women) (ibid., 89,
110). Between 2001 and 2013 the number of archaeology graduates in
Slovenia increased dramatically (to a total of 193), with the proportion of
female graduates rising to 70%. The trend towards a predominately female
graduate population that started in 2001 still continues (Figures 3,4).
Figure 4.Male and female archaeology graduates between 1999 and 2013 with
trend lines by gender (computed biannually)
Figure 3.Male and female archaeology graduates in Slovenia, 1960–2009
I. LAZAR ET AL.
Female Authors Contributing to ‘‘Arheolos
ˇki vestnik’’
The subject matter for this analysis was the main Slovenian archaeological
journal Arheolos
ˇki vestnik. Continuous publication since 1950 enables ana-
lysis of the distribution of contributors’ genders since the very early post-
war period, and the authors have looked at issues 1–64. The application of
bibliometric analysis methods to serial publications emerged in the 1990s
when gender archaeology, established in the mid-80s, sought to objectively
analyse existing structures of prevalence (Merc 2005:27). Merc (2005)
undertook the first such analysis across the area of former Yugoslavia,
including Slovenia, and analysed authorship in Praistorija jugoslavenskih
zemalja (Prehistory of Yugoslav Countries). Our analysis is simpler, since it
only treats the authors contributing to individual issues of the Arheolos
ˇki
vestnik according to their genders. A single author with several contribu-
tions per issue is only recorded once. The ratio between the two sexes only
becomes relatively balanced after 1990, the only earlier exception being the
1975 issue when the percentage of female contributors surpassed 50%; that
issue of Arheolos
ˇki vestnik includes contributions from the international
congress Rei cretariae romanae fautorum which took place in Ljubljana in
1973 (the authors were informed of this by Andrej Preloz
ˇnik, pers. comm.)
(Figure 5).
Female Archaeologists’ Employment
Universities Data collected in 1989 shows a balanced picture of employment
at the Department of Archaeology in Ljubljana, when six male and six
Figure 5.Proportion of female authors contributing to Arheolos
ˇki vestnik, 1950–2013
The Archaeologist of the Future is Likely to be a Woman
female archaeologists were employed. The Faculty of Humanities was only
established in the middle of the first decade of the 21st century, which
means we have no data before that.
Research Institutes Both research institutes are currently under female
management and both institutes mostly employ women, which only
became the case recently: ZRC, SAZU, Archaeology Institute employed five
female and seven male archaeologists in 1989.
Museums According to data collected for the Discovering the Archaeolo-
gists of Europe 2012–14 project, 54 individuals with archaeological qualifica-
tions are employed in museums, 66% of whom are women. The director of
the National Museum of Slovenia is an archaeologist. Twenty-five years ago,
32 people with archaeological qualifications were employed in museums,
66% of whom were women. The gender ratio therefore remains unchanged
despite the increase in the number of people employed in museums.
Institute for the Protection of Cultural Heritage of Slovenia According to
Discovering the Archaeologists of Europe 2012–14 survey data, the Institute
for the Protection of Cultural Heritage employs 42 people with qualifica-
tions in archaeology, 64% of whom are women, which is close to the ratio
in the museums. This does not include people on short contracts working
for the Institute for the Protection of Cultural Heritage for a limited period
of time. In 1989 the male/female ratio was orientated in favour of men, as
women represented only 29% of the Institute’s work force at that time.
Private Companies By the end of the 1990s highway construction had
created a large increase in the need for archaeological work, which led to
the establishment of several archaeological private companies. The propor-
tion of female archaeologists in these companies with more than two
employees is as follows: ARHEJ d.o.o. 83%, Tica sistem d.o.o. 67%, Magelan
skupina d.o.o. 50%, and PJP d.o.o. 50% (figures from company websites).
Female Archaeologists Registered at the Employment Agency
On January 19th 2014, 37 archaeologists were registered as unemployed at
the government’s Employment Agency,
1
most of whom (19) came from
the Ljubljana area. Re-examining the site on June 10th 2014 showed the
number of registered people had reduced by six. Most unemployed archae-
ologists still came from Ljubljana (16), while the number of individuals
from other regions remained relatively unchanged. From this, it can be
assumed that there is employment available in the field of archaeology, but
to a limited extent and only for fixed terms. The data reported by the
Employment Agency showed that 81% of unemployed archaeologists are
women, higher than the proportion of women working in the archaeologi-
cal profession. The unemployed archaeologists mostly held BA qualifica-
I. LAZAR ET AL.
tions in archaeology, although some had higher degrees of education and
most of these people were women.
Personal Income
The lowest salary recorded in Slovenia by Discovering the Archaeologists of Eur-
ope 2012–14 was earned by an individual working at a private organisation,
while the highest was in education and research. This corresponds with the
findings of the predecessor project in 2008 (Pintaric
ˇand Novakovic
´2008:62).
The majority of respondents listed the average value of their income; in archae-
ology this is, according to our data and calculations, typically e1,607.08 per
month, which is almost 105% of the average gross income in Slovenia in Octo-
ber 2013 (when the survey was performed); at that time the average gross
income per month for all workers was, according to the Statistical Office RS,
e1,526.11. In comparison with 5 years before, the relative average wage for
archaeologists had fallen by about one-fifth lower, since that figure equated to
130% of the average gross income in Slovenia in 2008.
Studies conducted for the 80th anniversary of archaeology studies at the
University of Ljubljana established that the archaeological profession under-
went a process of feminisation (Novakovic
´et al. 2004). Our research has
shown that women dominate in all branches of archaeology except private
entrepreneurship, which makes it possible to claim that the profession, which
was considered exclusively male in the early 20th century, is now heavily fem-
inised. Female archaeologists started to emerge in the post-war period, but
the real change came in the late 1980s, as demonstrated by the proportion of
women employed in the Archaeology Department of the University of Ljublj-
ana. This is reflected—with a short time lag—in the articles published in
Arheolos
ˇki vestnik. From 1989 onwards women took up increasing numbers
of posts in museums, whereas they were employed by the Department of
Archaeology in relatively equal numbers to men and to a lesser extent at the
Archaeology Institute and the Institute for the Protection of Cultural Heri-
tage. International studies have established that it is a general phenomenon
that larger numbers of women are employed in museums (Claassen 1994:4);
female archaeologists often seek employment outside academia, as, being
more adaptable, they can find employment with various employers (ibid.).
Women in Dutch Archaeology (Heleen van Londen)
In 2004, the Minister of Social Affairs and Employment, Aart Jan de Geus,
proclaimed that the emancipation of autochthonous women was complete
and that focus should be brought to the position of immigrant women.
2
The Archaeologist of the Future is Likely to be a Woman
His statement resulted in waves of criticism. Yes, the position of immigrant
women were seen as important, but the major issue put forward was the
emancipation of men. Many studies have been undertaken on women in
powerful positions, for instance concerning university professors
(Lansu+Paulis Communicatiepartners 2008) or board members of com-
mercial enterprises—and in both cases, the Netherlands do not do very
well. Only 6% of board members are female according to the Female Board
Index in September 2014.
3
The Women in Business report (Grant Thornton
2014) ranks the Netherlands at the bottom, together with Japan, of the
proportion of women in senior management positions world-wide. Women
in academia do not fare much better; in the Netherlands, less than 10% of
Professors are women (Lansu+Paulis Communicatiepartners 2008:8) (Fig-
ure 6). These reports are contrary to the relatively high position (13th in
the world) given to the Netherlands by the World Economic Forum’s Glo-
bal Gender Gap Report (Schwab et al. 2013) mentioned above.
In 1871, the first woman graduated from university in the Netherlands.
Aletta Jacobs studied medicine. She also was the first woman to obtain a
PhD, 8 years later. The first female Professor (by special appointment),
Johanna Westerdijk, was given a Chair in 1917 at Utrecht University. The
first female Professor in Archaeology, Caroline Haspels, became a full Pro-
fessor of Classics and Archaeology in 1935 at age 41 at the University of
Amsterdam, while the first male Professor of Archaeology (Caspar Reu-
vens) had been appointed in 1818 at Leiden University. From Professor
Haspels appointment in 1935 until 2014, 10 women have become full Pro-
fessors in Archaeology, the majority in Mediterranean Archaeology and
Environmental Archaeology. Chairs in North-west European Archaeology
(Prehistory, Roman Archaeology, Historical Archaeology, Landscape
Archaeology, Public Archaeology) in the Netherlands are still predomi-
nantly held by men.
It has been shown that from 2000 onwards highly educated women out-
number men in the workforce, but these women prefer to work part-time
contracts as child care is basically still a mother’s job in the Netherlands
(Centraal Bureau voor de Statistiek 2010). Grant Thornton (2014) shows
that the growth of professional women in the workplace is a worldwide
trend; in North America, 140 women hold professional posts for every 100
men (Figure 7).
From 2000 onwards more women entered Dutch professional archaeol-
ogy than men, although presently the majority (58%) of professional work-
ers are still male (Van Londen et al. 2014:61), as is shown by Figure 8.In
the future the number will increase further, and so the archaeological pro-
fession in the Netherlands thus follows world-wide demographic trends.
That senior positions are dominated by men is also reflected in workers’
age groups (ibid., 62) (Figure 9).
I. LAZAR ET AL.
Table 1shows that women earn less than men, both in part-time and
full-time positions. The gap is smaller in part-time than in full-time jobs.
These data provide no insight into whether remuneration differs for each
specific function (same function-different salary). As shown in Table 2,
women work more often in part-time and junior positions.
Figure 6.Gender balance in academic careers. From Lansu+Paulis Communicatie-
partners 2008:8
Figure 7.Gender balance in world-wide education, 2014
The Archaeologist of the Future is Likely to be a Woman
In conclusion, for the Netherlands particularly, high numbers of women
in archaeology will not automatically mean women will gain access to
leadership positions, given the gender gaps in the Netherlands which are
illustrated by the reports on academic careers as well as their roles in busi-
nesses. One of the reasons behind these patterns is the fact that women
Figure 8.Male:female ratio over time in archaeology in The Netherlands
Figure 9.Gender and age distribution in Dutch Archaeology in 2013
I. LAZAR ET AL.
regard part-time work to be a norm, a particular characteristic of the
Netherlands. Of course, other dynamics regarding gender equality are
present as well, but these were not part of the survey conducted into the
Dutch archaeological workforce (van Londen et al. 2014).
Women in Norwegian Archaeology (Tine Schenck)
Norway is often considered to be among the most developed countries in
terms of gender equality, with a ranking of No 3 in the world in the last
Table 2 Gender balance in full-time or part-time contracts in Dutch Archaeology
2013 No. of m/f working in senior
positions
Corrected after ratio m/f Ratio after correction
Full-time Part-time Part-time
in FTEs
Persons
full-time
Persons
part-time
Full-time Part-time
m 84 46% 40 22% 30.7 145 76% 69 51% 45% 21%
f 19 10% 38 21% 29.6 45 24% 66 49% 14% 20%
103 57% 78 43% 190 134
2013 No. of m/f working in junior
positions
Corrected after
ratio m/f
Ratio after correction
Full-time Part-time Part-time
in FTEs
Persons
full-time
Persons
part-time
Full-time Part-time
m 22 29% 14 19% 11.6 38 57% 24 45% 32% 20%
f 12 16% 17 23% 13 29 43% 29 55% 24% 24%
34 45% 41 55% 67 53
From van Londen et al. (2014:81)
Table 1 Earnings by gender in Dutch archaeology
Lowest 10% Lower 25% Median Higher 25% Highest 10% Average n
2013
Full-time
Me30,033 e40,168 e47,179 e51,663 e57,500 e43,275 135
Fe30,033 e36,869 e40,000 e47,340 e51,818 e41,375 83
Part-time
Me30,883 e30,663 e39,500 e43,590 e51,663 e40,644 42
Fe30,049 e34,045 e38,750 e43,090 e57,500 e40,721 93
From van Londen et al. (2014:76)
The Archaeologist of the Future is Likely to be a Woman
few years. This is seen in relation to strong political participation and a
high degree of education and employment among women (Schwab et al.
2013; Teigen 2010).
In Norwegian archaeology, women have had significant participation in
professional life for at least 50 years, with a female-initiated journal K.A.N.
Kvinner i arkeologi i Norge (Women in Archaeology in Norway) being pub-
lished from 1985 to 2005. The journal highlighted a trend that has since
been considered almost iconic in gender archaeology, with an early dis-
course on women, feminist issues in professional work and in research,
and androcentrism in archaeology (Sørensen 2012:398). An early analysis
of the female status in the archaeological profession appeared in 1974
(Holm-Olsen and Mandt-Larsen 1974). Female participation in the archae-
ological profession increased significantly between 1975 and 1985, but most
women were still working part-time or on short-term contracts. In 1985,
no women were occupying positions of archaeological leadership, but the
rate of change accelerated over the next 4 years, and by 1991 four of nine
Professors of Archaeology were women (Dommasnes 1992:8).
Archaeology has seen a steady increase in the number of women in the
archaeological profession, following a trend of women in higher education
in the Humanities in general, and in 2000, 100% of archaeology students
graduating in Norway were women. Since then, the female to male ratio
has fluctuated around 65:35 (Figure 10), and this has been recently
reflected in an explosion of temporary employment positions since 2001,
when an estimated 25% of archaeologists were temporarily employed (Nil-
sen 2001:94). Today, c. 62% work on short-term or fixed-term contracts,
an expansion that is predominantly explained by a surge of women into
the archaeological profession over the last 14 years.
Over the last few years, previously uncollected data about Norwegian
archaeologists were gathered from temporarily employed archaeologists by
MAARKthe Association for Temporary Employed Archaeologists under the
Norwegian Association for Researchers (NAR)
4
—as part of their programme.
The statistics have been collected yearly through member surveys, beginning
in 2010. Prior to that date there were no centrally collected data for working
conditions among Norwegian archaeologists. The present analysis is drawn
from data in MAARK’s yearly statistics, the Database for Statistics on Higher
Education (DBH)
5
and the recent individuals’ survey from the Discovering the
Archaeologists of Europe 20122014 (DISCO) project in Norway. As the fema-
le:male ratio is consistent among recently graduated students (data about
recently graduated students have been centrally collected for all universities
from 2000 forwards), MAARK’s statistics and the DISCO survey, the data for
temporarily employed archaeologists can be read across for average and med-
ian estimates regarding archaeologists younger than 40–45 years. The DISCO
data also provided 2012 and 2013 snapshot views into the professional lives
I. LAZAR ET AL.
of archaeologists that had graduated before 2000. As Norwegian archaeology
exclusively employs professional archaeologists due to legal restrictions on
cultural heritage management, the data below refer only to professional
archaeologists. A postgraduate degree is the de facto entry criterion for a job
in Norwegian professional archaeology.
Ratio of Women:Men in Norwegian Archaeology
In 2013, the ratio of women:men in Norwegian archaeology was 61.6–38.4,
in other words a substantial majority of Norwegian professional archaeolo-
gists are women. Statistics from DBH show that a majority of entrants to
the profession since 2000 are women (66.1% annual average). This number
is consistent with the ratio of women to men among the temporarily
employed (66.5:33.5), and also with the gender ratio in the group of
respondents aged up to 40 years of age (67.5:32.5).
Among the permanently employed, the gender distribution is more
even, with 52.7% women and 47.3% men. However, men form the major-
ity of archaeologists aged 41 years and older as a whole, which is unsur-
prising considering the trans-European trend of older male to younger
female archaeologists (Aitchison et al. 2014) (Table 3).
The ratios of women to men differ somewhat when seen in light of
employment type and age. However, as can be seen in Figure 11, the
decline of women in the survey populations at 5 year intervals is very simi-
lar for both temporarily employed and permanently employed women and
men.
Figure 10.Gender distribution in Norwegian archaeology graduates, 2000–2013.
Source: Database for Statistics on Higher Education, Norwegian Social Science Data
Services
The Archaeologist of the Future is Likely to be a Woman
In total, the age/gender distribution for the different groups above
reflect the fact that Norwegian women have long established their presence
in the archaeological profession, making up around half of the workforce
until retirement age.
Norwegian Women and Professional Archaeology
Norwegian archaeology is state run, with various delegated schemes of
authority. This means that most archaeologists work in the public sector,
which consists of universities, county councils, government offices, the
Table 3 Ratio of women:men in Norwegian professional archaeology, 2013
Population Women (%) Men (%)
All archaeologists 61.6 38.4
Temporarily employed (MED age 34) 66.5 33.5
Permanently employed (MED age 45) 52.7 47.3
£40 years 67.5 32.5
41 years 45.3 54.7
Postgraduate degree, Archaeology 2013 47.1 52.9
Postgraduate degree, Archaeology 2000–2013 66.1 33.9
Source DISCO 2012–2014, DBH
Figure 11.The decrease of survey population at select age thresholds, 2013. Source:
DISCO 2012–2014
I. LAZAR ET AL.
Sa
´mi parliament, and the state antiquarian office. The private sector is lar-
gely composed of museums and an independent research institute, in addi-
tion to a few self-employed businesspeople.
The public sector employed 88.8% of archaeologists in 2012. Of the
11.2% that worked in the private sector, most were involved with tasks
that require delegation of state authority, and so this sector is not entirely
private in nature. The gender distribution shows that the public sector
workforces are slightly more than half women, and the private sector is a
little more than half men (Figure 12).
The most pronounced discrepancy in Norwegian archaeology is between
temporarily employed workers and permanently employed archaeologists.
61.7% of all respondent archaeologists were temporarily employed in 2012,
of which 66.5% were women. In sum, temporarily employed women made
up twice the number of each of the other employment type/gender catego-
ries identified in the DISCO 2012–2014 survey, leading to a substantial
overrepresentation (Figure 13).
The gender distribution in temporarily employed archaeologists has
been mapped from 2010 onwards by MAARK’s member surveys and the
DISCO 2012–2014 survey. The trend varies, from a large majority of
76.4% in 2010 to only 64.4% in 2011. The July 2010 sample size was small,
and as this is the only deviating number, it may not be representative.
However, it should be noted that 75% of archaeology graduates in 2010
were women.
The distinction between archaeologists in permanent and in temporary
employment becomes especially noticeable when salaries are taken into
consideration. Because winters are harsh in most of Norway, the field
Figure 12.Gender distribution in Norwegian archaeological employment sectors
The Archaeologist of the Future is Likely to be a Woman
season varies from 3 to 4 months in the far north to most of the year in
the very south of the country. Most field archaeologists work under condi-
tions where fieldwork can only be undertaken between April and Novem-
ber. Very few manage a yearly income based on archaeological work alone,
and 35.2% of the temporarily employed were on welfare benefits for peri-
ods of 2012. Many have side jobs or rely on savings or student loans to fill
their income gaps.
The unstable situation for temporarily employed archaeologists mani-
fests in a large discrepancy in income compared with permanently
employed archaeologists (Figure 14). For instance, whereas permanently
employed archaeologists earn a median of 4.3% more than the average
population of Norway; the median earnings of temporarily employed
archaeologists are only 79.1% of those in permanent employment.
Hardly any gender disparity is visible among the permanently employed.
However, it becomes clear that even if women seem to have a marginally
higher average income among the temporarily employed in total, a break-
down shows that men aged 41 or older earn a significantly higher income
than women do, with women only earning 89.1% of the income of their
Figure 13.Gender distribution amongst Norwegian temporarily employed archaeol-
ogists, 2010–2013. Source: MAARK, DISCO 2012–2014
I. LAZAR ET AL.
male peers. This is not due to a lower number of hours worked, as hardly
any temporary employees work part-time. Rather, it is in line with the gen-
eral Norwegian working population, where the average gender pay gap in
2012 was 11.1% (women earned 88.9% of the amount earned by men).
On average, women earn less than men if temporarily employed in the
very youngest and very oldest age categories (Figure 15). This is reflected
in the analysis of pay in relation with seniority (Figure 16), and in sum it
may point to an obscured gender inequality that does not become apparent
in the total average and median calculations. Whether it has to do with
ingrained gender roles; traditional active/passive behavioural patterns in
pay negotiations, or outright discrimination is at present not known. How-
ever, it is clear that the differences are most pronounced above the age of
41 and among the temporarily employed. It has previously been shown
that temporarily employed archaeologists often shy away from negotiations
for fear of not being re-hired (Schenck 2013:20). It is possible that women
either do this to a larger extent, or that they are routinely employed at
lower pay rates. In any case, the age distribution points to the existence of
traditional mindsets that are still at play, even in the feminised Norwegian
archaeological profession. This tendency needs further monitoring to estab-
lish if it is a trend, or to exclude it as a one-off occurrence.
Figure 14.Yearly income: gender distribution among employment types, 2012. Tem-
porarily employed were registered with total income and income from archaeological
work. Source: DISCO 2012–2014
The Archaeologist of the Future is Likely to be a Woman
Another gender inequality is in the division of work tasks, which were
divided into main categories and investigated in DISCO 2012–2014. The
distribution from 2012 is shown in Figure 17. The public sector had the
most evenly distributed gender situation, whereas the private sector shows
a highly diverse picture. However, there was a common trend across all
sectors, with men predominantly taking leadership and management
roles—holding 75% of such positions in the private sector. This is known
to be one of the main obstacles to equality in general professional life in
Norway, but quota laws and regulations are in place to secure movements
towards equality in select groups such as company boards, and this seems
to have an effect (Ahern and Dittmar 2012; Teigen 2010).
In sum, Norwegian female archaeologists are seemingly doing well in
comparison with their peers across Europe. However, there are certain obsta-
cles that must be overcome to reach full equality, and it is questionable why
men dominate both in relation to pay and leadership in a sector where female
workers either numerically dominate (when aged 40 or under) or are equal
in numbers (aged 41 and over) to their male counterparts.
Towards a Synthesis
The question remains whether women will have influential positions in
archaeology in the future. Certainly, the situation differs by country. In
Slovenia, for instance, a good number of women have influential positions.
Figure 15.Gender distribution in different employment types and age groups, 2012.
Source: DISCO 2012–2014
I. LAZAR ET AL.
Does that mean they also have a greater influence in the field of archaeol-
ogy itself and in the politics of decision making on a national and/or inter-
national level? In Norway, pay and leadership lags as is the case in the
Netherlands. The issue of leadership positions in archaeology needs to be
more generally discussed in many European countries. Why do men leave
Figure 16.Gender distribution in different employment types and seniority groups,
2012. Source: DISCO 20212-2014
Figure 17.Sector wise task distribution between genders, 2012. Source: DISCO
2012–2014
The Archaeologist of the Future is Likely to be a Woman
the profession? That may not be the right perspective. It seems that the
growth of women in the profession has to do with a global trend where
educated women outnumber men. Therefore, this is to be expected in
many professions all over the world. In line with the Global Gender Gap
Report (Schwab et al. 2013), the aim should be to close the gap, rather than
emancipate women. It’s not about winning or losing, it’s about equality.
Notes
1. http://www.ess.gov.si/delodajalci/iskanje_delavca/po_regijah?q=1&s=1 (acces-
sed 19th January 2014 and 10th June 2014).
2. http://www.opzij.nl/nl/artikel/33211/nederland-is-klaar-met-de-emancipatie-
of-toch-niet.html, 13th October 2014.
3. http://www.nu.nl/beurs/3868762/weinig-vrouwen-top-in-bedrijfsleven.html.
4. The Norwegian Association of Researchers (Forskerforbundet) is a trade
union under UNIO, a confederation of trade unions in Norway.
5. https://dbh.nsd.uib.no.
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