The Gender Gap in Top Levels of Science is Closing -- but Too Slowly

March 30, 2005

Brussels, 29 March 2005

The number of women in top positions in science is growing, but only slowly. At EU level, women only make up 14% of top academics, but constitute 44% of graduates in science and technology subjects. In a report on Gender Equality in Science, the European Commission sets out the actions on-going and under preparation at European level to promote the role of women in science. Increasing the number of women engaged in science is a crucial element in achieving the EU’s target of 3% of GDP invested in Research and Development.

In its 2005 report “Women and Science: Excellence and Innovation – Gender Equality in Science” the Commission details some of the major statistics relating to the position of women in science, as well as on-going work to counter the gender imbalance.

Some of the current initiatives include:

  • Development of a range of gender-sensitive indicators to measure and compare success rate of women and men in senior positions. Targets should be formulated and adopted at EU as well as at national, regional and institutional level.
  • Working with industry to improve the situation of women in industrial research. A new expert group on Women in science and technology – the business perspective started its work in February 2005
  • Supporting projects to promote gender research, analyse existing measures, creating ambassadors for women in science,
  • Setting targets for participation in Commission programme (40% female participation in committees, groups and panels, amongst project coordinators and receiving Marie Curie Fellowships)
  • Establishing the Gender Watch System to monitor progress towards a more balanced participation of women and men in the Framework Programme Support tools include a guide to gender mainstreaming for scientific officers and evaluators.
  • A network on gender aspects in food quality and safety, examining how gender differences in susceptibility to disease, risk assessment and consumer behaviour can have an impact on food quality and safety measures.
  • Working with academic institutions to minimise gender bias in the definition and measurement of scientific excellence
  • Research projects and programmes should include measures to improve gender equality – following the aims addressed in the Code of Conduct for researchers.
For the future, a further €5.7m has been earmarked for Women and Science in 2005-2006, bringing the total in the Sixth Framework Programme to around €20m. The Commission will give €2m to start up the European Platform of Women Scientists, which will establish networks of women scientists and organisations working towards gender equality in scientific research. The Commission is also proposing the creation of a European award on excellence in gender research, to raise awareness of the importance of such research. html

Item source: IP/05/363 Date: 29/03/2005 Previous Item Back to Titles Print Item

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