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