Changes in the Gender Gap in the European Union: the Case of Women in Science, Engineering and Technology

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To create the most competitive and dynamic knowledge-based economy in the world was one of the strategic goals of the European Council at the start of the new millenium. This was laid out in the EU Lisbon agenda in 2000.1 To compete in an ever increasingly globalized world, the implementation of a European Research Area was a direct consequence of this strategy. The potential of EU women to contribute to this project is enormous. In 1999, 44% of the graduates in science, maths and engineering leaving universities in the EU-15 and associated countries were women. However, the data available for the same group of countries for that year shows that women were only 27% of all researchers, 31% of the PhD graduates in S&T, 37% of grade C academic staff, and 13% of grade A academic staff.2 Only 16% of EU projects were coordinated by women, and women were also present in much lower numbers in evaluation panels (23%), monitoring panels (23%), and advisory groups (29%).2 Since a greater participation of women at all levels is vital, because it contributes to greater human development for all and is needed if the numbers of researchers are to increase substantially in the construction of a larger ERA, several initiatives were undertaken by the European Commission to promote it; for example, the promotion of gender mainstreaming at all levels of activity at European and national level, the compilation of gender-dissociated statistics and an increase in gender-related studies.3 Furthermore, in our neighbour Spain it was established that a gender balance in all human groups in charge of representation, selection, promotion, research evaluation and all the activities related therewith, should be the norm.4 In this communication some of the progresses, such as the increase in the numbers of women researchers and the decrease in the glass ceiling index,5 will be highlighted and briefly discussed.
Original languageUnknown
Title of host publicationWomen, Science and Globalization: What´s Up?
EditorsI Lousada, MJ Gonçalves
Place of PublicationLisbon, Portugal
ISBN (Print)978-972-591-821-0
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2012

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