In 2021, there were 6.9 million female scientists and engineers in the EU, 369 800 more than in 2020, accounting for 41% of total employment in science and engineering.

By sector of activity, women were underrepresented in all the sectors of the statistical classification of economic activities in the EU, although there was more of a gender balance in the services sector (46% of scientists and engineers were female). In the air transport sector, women represented 28%, while in the manufacturing sector, they represented only 21% of their scientists and engineers. The lowest percentage shares for women were registered in the water transport sector (only 8% were female), manufacture of transport equipment (12%) and motor vehicles (13%). 


Bar chart: Scientists and engineers in the EU, % of the total, by sex, 2021

Source dataset: hrst_st_nsecsex2


Looking at the specific high-tech related aggregates, women represented 46% of the scientists and engineers in the knowledge-intensive services, 22% in the high-technology sectors (high-technology manufacturing and knowledge-intensive high-technology services) and only 18% in the high and medium-technology manufacturing.

Among the EU Member States, the proportion of female scientists and engineers varied widely in 2021. The highest shares were registered in Lithuania (52%) and Bulgaria, Latvia and Portugal (all 51%) and the lowest in Luxembourg (35%), Germany and Italy (both 34%), Hungary (33%) and Finland (31%). 

At NUTS 1 regional level, female scientists and engineers were in the majority in 14 EU regions:

  • four regions of Spain: Centre and Canary Islands (both 55%), North-West (52%) and North-East (51%), 
  • all three regions of Portugal: Região Autónoma dos Açores (62%), Madeira (57%) and Continental Portugal (51%),
  • Severna i yugoiztochna in Bulgaria (56%), Makroregion Centralny (55%) and Makroregion Wschodni (53%) in Poland, Northern Sweden (52%), as well as Lithuania (52%) and Latvia (51%) (single regions at this level of detail). 
  • and Denmark with 50%. 


Map: Proportion of women scientists and engineers, %, by NUTS 1 regions, 2021

Source dataset: hrst_st_rsex


At the other end of the scale, the smallest proportion of female scientists and engineers was recorded in the German regions of Baden-Württemberg (30%) and Bayern (31%), as well as the Finnish region of Manner-Suomi and the Hungarian region of Közép-Magyarország, which were also both 31%. 

This news item marks the International Day of Women and Girls in Science, celebrated on 11 February.

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Methodological notes:

  • Regional data for Croatia, Cyprus, Czechia, Denmark, Estonia, Ireland, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Latvia, Malta, Slovenia and Slovakia: single regions at this level of detail.   
  • Bremen (DE5), Saarland (DEC), Corsica (FRM), Åland Islands (FI12): Break in time series, low reliability


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