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The Knowledge-Sharing Platform

08 Mar 2019

Number of women with research careers is slowly growing, She Figures 2018 show

On 8 March 2019, International Women's day, the Commission published the 2018 edition of the She Figures report which is the main source of pan‑European, comparable statistics on gender balance in science. The key findings are that the number of women with a career in research is slowly growing in Europe. Still, they remain significantly underrepresented, and their potential is not fully recognised and valued.

The She Figures 2018 highlight that on average, women now outnumber men at student and graduate levels, and there is a broad gender balance at PhD level. However, their distribution in the different scientific fields of study is uneven, which shows the persistence of gender stereotypes. The presence of stereotypes is particularly strong in the field of science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM), where women remain underrepresented at all levels starting as students (32% at Bachelor, Master or equivalent level) up to top academic positions (15%). Furthermore, women still make up the minority of top academic positions.

To gain more insights into the prevailing gender inequalities, some new indicators have been introduced in the She Figures 2018 report. Some provide information on the different education pathways chosen by young women and men and their progress to top education levels. Others measure the propensity of women and men to work alone, in same-sex teams or mixed teams as patent inventors.

The She Figures Report and Handbook can be downloaded here.

Further strategic intelligence for policy support in the area of gender equality can be found here:

In the context of ERA, the Working group on gender in R&I supports the European Commission and the Council in implementing and monitoring the ERA priority 4, the ERA Roadmap 2015-2020, gender equality in Horizon 2020 and the Council Conclusions on “Advancing gender equality in the ERA” of 1st December 2015. The group published a policy brief on "Tackling gender bias in research evaluation: Recommendations for action" last autumn.

The Horizon 2020 funded project GENDERACTION supports the advancement of gender equality in R&I by providing analysis, training and mutual learning opportunities and policy briefs.


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