There is strong evidence that research and higher education institutions are everywhere gendered settings. Yet country differences persist, and what accounts for them is still unclear. This work aims to provide an updated state of the art of both the empirical and theoretical research on gender imbalances in academia in Europe, paying particular attention to the role of the macro level and to possible clusters of countries along well-established regimes. In particular, we shall investigate whether there is an association between the level of the glass ceiling in academia and some features of these regimes, such as overall childcare availability, social expenditure on research and development, and attitudes in support of equal participation of men and women in the labour market. We find that the share of women in grade A professorships varies among EU-28 countries from 11% to 44% but that this variation does not follow well-established groups and is not correlated with some of their constitutive feautures such as defamilising social policies or prevalent gender norms. This suggests that academia is a very specific context and that only a holistic framework combining qualitative and quantitative measures along various dimensions enables better account to be made of it.