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Women and Science: Mobilising Women to Enrich European Research

The first objective identified in the Commission's communication was the creation of a political forum to discuss the issue of women in science with Member States. The second was to establish a target (40 % of women on all research boards, panels and working groups created by the European Commission) for the participation of women in its own funded research, and to establish indicators to monitor progress towards this target.

The first objective was realised through the Helsinki Group on Women and Science. Named after their first meeting held in Helsinki, Finland, in November 1999, the group was established by the European Commission to bring together national representatives from all EU Member States and associated countries.

One of the first tasks assigned to each delegate was to produce a national report by the end of 2000, describing any existing national policies to promote women in science. On the basis of these national inputs, National Policies on Women in Science in Europe, was later published.

The Helsinki Group on Women and Science aims to promote the participation and equality of women in the sciences at the European level. Meetings are held twice a year and provide an important forum for dialogue about national policies. A comprehensive list of the group's aims is set out in the mandate of 2007.

The report, Benchmarking Policy Measures for Gender Equality in Science, was published in 2008. As well as providing an update of the earlier reports on the situation of women in their respective countries, the report provides an analysis of the correlation between gender equality policy and women's participation in research. Copies of all reports are available through the e-Library.

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