Brazil sees changing gender balances in PhDs

Qualifications for women leap forward, although salaries have yet to catch up

April 5, 2016
Vintage travel bag with map of Brazil
Source: iStock
Increasing proportions of Brazilian women are travelling for a PhD

More Brazilian women than men are now gaining PhDs abroad.

From the whole period from 1970 to 2014, just over 14,000 Brazilians obtained doctorates in other countries.

Close to 8,500 of them, or 59 per cent, were men. Although this dominance continued until 2011, according to a new report by the Center for Strategic Studies and Management in Science, Technology, and Innovation (CGEE) – which is overseen by Brazil's Ministry of Science, Technology and Innovation – the situation has changed and women now outpace men. In 2014, they made up more than 60 per cent of the total.

Despite the expense and the growth of Brazilian graduate programmes, argued CGEE consultant Cláudio Ribeiro, it was often desirable to study elsewhere because of the country’s lack of “developed competence” in some fields and “in order to train Brazilian researchers with different ideas and views”.  

The government's Science Without Borders programme has alone granted more than 3,000 fellowships for Brazilians to pursue doctorates away from home.

Despite the progress Brazilian women have made in gaining international PhDs, however, the report also indicated that salary levels still lag behind. Earnings for women with PhDs are still on average 16.5 per cent lower. Furthermore, only 49 per cent of them, as opposed to 71 per cent of the men, are currently employed.

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