Latest Eurostat data show that although women are still significantly under-represented in scientific and engineering disciplines, the numbers of female graduates in these fields have increased over the last few years. The new figures on “Women, science and technology: Measuring recent progress towards gender equality" provide continuing evidence of a narrowing of the gender gap for graduates in “hard sciences”, especially in engineering. From 1998-2001, the numbers of graduates in engineering and related subjects increased by 8% to 340,000, but this increase was far more marked for women – 31%. In fact, although women only represent just over 20% of engineering graduates, they accounted for 56.5% of the increase during this period in the EU-15 countries, and for 35.6% in the EU-25. However, this positive trend is not reflected in science and engineering employment where the current 69% share of men is set to increase even further.
“This means that efforts to increase the female workforce in science and technology have led to some initial progress”, said European Research Commissioner Philippe Busquin. “But now, governments, universities and especially industry must take steps to ensure that this will actually translate into increased employment of women researchers, especially in the natural sciences and engineering. To foster this human resource potential, science and engineering need to become more attractive and accommodating workplaces for women.”
A positive trend in education
Fabio Fabbi | EU Commission
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