Women still under represented in S&T, claims report

June 17, 2003

Brussels, 16 Jun 2003

Science and technology (S&T) still remain male dominated disciplines, a recent statistical report from Eurostat has shown.

The report takes the last available statistics for each Member State and assesses the number of men and women studying S&T disciplines or employed in scientific or engineering occupations.

While the number of male, and in particular female S&T graduates, has been on increase in every Member State since 1996, the report finds that women are still not adequately represented in the field. For instance, between 1999 and 2000, figures show that in the Netherlands there were five times as many male scientific graduates as women. A similar scenario was also shown to exist in Germany, where there were four times more men studying S&T. Only in Portugal was the ratio doubled.

Similarly, the report shows that the proportion of people working in S&T related activities has also risen in Europe in recent times. However, figures for 2001 reveal that being a scientist or working in a related field is generally a male occupation. For instance, in Germany there was a ratio of nearly four men to every woman working in S&T. Women living in Austria and Italy were least likely to be working as a scientist or engineer. However in Member States such as Finland, Ireland and Belgium, women were well represented in these fields. In the case of Finland, there were more women than men working as scientists in 2001.

In an effort to counteract the under-representation of women in science, the European Commission has allocated 80 million euro under the Sixth Framework Programme (FP6) towards bringing research closer to society. One of the priorities is promoting women's participation in science and technology. Earlier this year, Commissioner for Research, Philippe Busquin, called on the research community to take up the issue of promoting women in industrial research with a view to putting it on the agenda of the EU Italian Presidency, which runs from 1 July to 31 December 2003.

For further information, please consult the following web address:

CORDIS RTD-NEWS / © European Communities

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