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This page was published on 12/10/2006
Published: 12/10/2006

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Published: 12 October 2006  
Related category(ies):
Science in society


Too few women in EU research

In the scientific community, there is a clear minority that can be found: women, that often have difficulty in juggling professional and family life.

Video in QuickTime format:  de  en  es  fr  it  pt  ru  (31 MB)

In 1999, the Commission launched an action plan on women and science, which set out a strategy to promote research by, for and about women. Since 1999, the results have shown a clear improvement, although the figures published in 2006 by the European Commission still demonstrate they still are underrepresented:

  • Only 29% of European scientists are women
  • Only 18% of scientists in the private sector are women and they account for only 15% of University lecturers.
  • The figures are even more worrying when looking at technology: only 5.8% of women do research in this field.
  • Finally, they are a large minority in scientific committees, as in the majority of European countries they represent less than 20%.

However, if society is to develop a better understanding and acceptance of the developments in science and technology, specific measures must be taken to address both the under-representation of women in science, and the lack of attention paid to gender differences within research.

Correcting the gender balance in science involves keeping women constantly in the research policy sights. Maintaining such high visibility requires long-term monitoring and expert advice, and that is exactly what the Helsinki Group on Women and Science provides. Implemented in November 2006 by the European Commission, it aims at promoting participation and gender equality in sciences throughout Europe.

Today, some women manage to give a name to themselves by combining professional and personal life, whilst others dedicate all their time to research.

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See also

Futuris, the European research programme - on Euronews. The video on this page was prepared in collaboration with Euronews for the Futuris programme.

Jan Hens
European Commission,
Information Society and Media DG,
Information and Communication Assistant,
Information and Communication Unit (S3),
Tel.: +32 2 29 68855

Unit A1 - External & internal communication,
Directorate-General for Research & Innovation,
European Commission
Tel : +32 2 298 45 40
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