Navigation path

Themes
Agriculture & food
Energy
Environment
ERA-NET
Health & life sciences
Human resources & mobility
Industrial research
Information society
Innovation
International cooperation
Nanotechnology
Pure sciences
Research infrastructures
Research policy
Science & business
Science in society
Security
SMEs
Social sciences and humanities
Space
  Galileo
  Space exploration
  Space hardware
  Space policy
  Teledetection
  Other
Special Collections
Transport

Countries
Countries
  Argentina
  Australia
  Austria
  Belarus
  Belgium
  Benin
  Botswana
  Brazil
  Bulgaria
  Cameroon
  Canada
  Chile
  China
  Colombia
  Croatia
  Cyprus
  Czech Republic
  Denmark
  Egypt
  Estonia
  Finland
  France
  Gambia
  Georgia
  Germany
  Ghana
  Greece
  Hungary
  Iceland
  India
  Indonesia
  Ireland
  Israel
  Italy
  Japan
  Kazakhstan
  Kenya
  Korea
  Latvia
  Lichtenstein
  Lithuania
  Luxembourg
  Madagascar
  Malaysia
  Malta
  Mexico
  Montenegro
  Morocco
  Namibia
  Netherlands
  Nigeria
  Norway
  Panama
  Peru
  Poland
  Portugal
  Romania
  Russia
  Senegal
  Serbia
  Slovakia
  Slovenia
  South Africa
  Spain
  Sri Lanka
  Swaziland
  Sweden
  Switzerland
  Taiwan
  Tanzania
  Thailand
  Tunisia
  Turkey
  Uganda
  Ukraine
  United Kingdom
  United States
  Vietnam


This page was published on 21/06/2004
Published: 21/06/2004

   Space

Last Update: 21-06-2004  
Related category(ies):
Industrial research  |  Research policy  |  Space  |  Pure sciences  |  Transport

 

Add to PDF "basket"

Mixed progress towards gender equality in the EU

Positive news that Europe is producing a growing number of female science and engineering graduates is tempered by a disproportionate take-up in industry, the latest figures show. But the picture varies between the new and ‘old' EU Member States.

Despite gains, women still hit the glass ceiling on the science and engineering market place © Source: PhotoDisc
Despite gains, women still hit the glass ceiling on the science and engineering market place

© Source: PhotoDisc

The number of graduates in science, maths and computing increased by over a quarter between 1998 and 2001, and European universities produced around 8% more engineers during the same period, according to a report from Eurostat, the European Union's statistical service. Women engineering graduates appear to be the big winners, showing an increase of 31%. But does this translate into jobs in the EU-25?

This upsurge in women engineers does not appear to improve their chances of securing scientific and engineering jobs, where the gender gap is widening, the report says. In these fields, the number of men in the EU-25 increased by 4.9% from 1998-2002, whereas the increase was only 4.2% for women, who were already in the minority at 31% of the workforce.

Research Commissioner Philippe Busquin is upbeat about these findings, but stresses the need for greater effort to increase the Union's human resource base in science, engineering and technology – where at least another 700 000 are needed to keep alive the Union's Lisbon goal of becoming the world's most competitive knowledge-based economy by 2010. This was also the consensus of an EU-sponsored conference last April entitled ‘Increasing human resources for science and technology in Europe'.

“[These results] mean that efforts to increase the female workforce in science and technology have led to some initial progress,” the Commissioner said in a prepared statement. “But now governments, universities and especially industry must take steps to ensure that this will actually translate into increased employment of women researchers, especially in the natural sciences and engineering.” He noted that workplaces employing scientists and engineers must become more attractive and accommodating to make the most of Europe's entire pool of talented researchers. 

Female technicians
On many indicators, the ten new EU members outperformed their older counterparts. For example, of all countries represented in the survey – the EU-25 plus Iceland, Norway, Bulgaria, Romania and Turkey – only in Latvia are women more likely to carry out research and development (R&D) activities than men. “On the whole, the data shows, the new Member States have a larger proportion of female researchers than high R&D funding countries, such as Germany, where only two in every ten government or higher education sector researchers are women,” states the report entitled ‘Women, science and technology: measuring recent progress towards gender equality'.

Almost two-thirds of Polish, Estonian, Cypriot and Lithuanian graduates in 2001 were women, the report indicates. Hungary, Slovenia and Estonia were not far behind, each with around 60% of female graduates in the same year. Of the EU-15, only Portugal and Finland are on par with this strong performance, producing 67% and 62% of female to male graduates.

Contrary to stereotypes, in a large percentage of countries where data was available – 11 out of 21 – women held a higher proportion of the technician jobs than they did ‘research' posts per se. Women also show a greater tendency to work in medical sciences or social sciences.

There is also an emerging pattern where women tend to work in poorly-funded areas and most male researchers in the better-funded ones, notes the European Commission on the report. “This has an adverse impact on transparency and democracy in Europe's scientific governance and the required infrastructure changes to meet the Lisbon objectives.”

   

EU sources

Convert article(s) to PDF

No article selected


loading


Search articles

Notes:
To restrict search results to articles in the Information Centre, i.e. this site, use this search box rather than the one at the top of the page.

After searching, you can expand the results to include the whole Research and Innovation web site, or another section of it, or all Europa, afterwards without searching again.

Please note that new content may take a few days to be indexed by the search engine and therefore to appear in the results.

Print Version
Share this article
See also

Women and science publications (see full ‘Statistics in Focus’ report)
Eurostat
Increasing human resources for science and technology in Europe (conference and report)

Contacts
Research Contacts page
  Top   Research Information Center