After harsh criticism for gender imbalance in previous years' appointments, universities have nominated women as 35% of the holders of the latest batch of chairs in the billion-dollar (USD $838 million) Canada Research Chairs (CRC) program.

Between December 2000 and April of this year, only 18% of the 1164 chairs awarded at 73 Canadian universities had gone to women, despite the fact that 26% of all full-time faculty members in the country are female. The figures had prompted not only criticism in the media, but also a complaint to the Canadian Human Rights Commission in February 2003 by eight prominent female researchers from across the country.

René Durocher, the executive director of the chairs program, citing the fact that it is the universities that nominate candidates for the chairs, told the Chronicle of Higher Education in January 2004 that "the universities must change their approach. The figures are just...

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