Despite the fact that more than half the European student population is female, women hold less then 15% of full professorships in Europe, according to the She Figures 2006 from the European Commission. While the percentage of female university graduates and PhD holders has increased, the gender gap is not closing at the same rate as careers advance.
The study authors, Ledin, Bornmann, Gannon and Wallon, were prompted to investigate whether gender bias was at the root of the lower success rate of female applicants to the EMBO Long-Term Fellowship and Young Investigator Programmes. Gender blinding of application reviewers found that gender bias was not the cause. A thorough investigation of the publication data of all applicants revealed that the performance gap widens even further between men and women researchers at later stages of their careers. This widening gap results in a 50% lower fraction of females applying as young group leaders to the EMBO Young Investigator Programme as compared to the number of female postdoctoral scientists who apply for the EMBO Long-Term Fellowships.
The EMBO Long-Term Fellowship Programme attracts scientists who completed their PhD training within the previous three years before application and are seeking financial support for post-doctoral research. Scientists at a later stage of their careers who are within four years of establishing their first independent laboratories can apply for support through the EMBO Young Investigator Programme.
Surveys of applicants found that traditional gender roles combined with a pervasive negative work culture appeared to be at the root of the lower success rate of women researchers versus men researchers.
The traditional gender roles are manifested by the facts that women take substantially more parental leave and more often adjust their careers in preference to that of their male partners. As a result women publish less and are slower to advance in their careers because on average they spend less time at work and have a greater burden to carry outside of the lab than their male counterparts at the same stage of their careers.
In the workplace, women scientists had fewer opportunities for mentoring, less supervisor support once they began to have families and there was a general lack of gender policy and monitoring in institutions.
The study authors ask whether employers, policy makers, scientists and society can afford to lose such a large number of trained specialists from the workforce. They conclude that both a shift in thinking about the roles of men and women and positive action in the workplace are required to ensure that family decisions do not prevent men and women from career and societal aspirations.
Through its Women In Science Programme, EMBO assesses and acts on imbalances in the scientific career path. EMBO monitors the selection process in EMBO programmes, alerts EMBO committees towards gender imbalance, devises actions to counteract gender imbalance and creates awareness in the scientific community.
The study publication A Persistent Problem: Traditional gender roles hold back female scientists appears online until 30 November 2008 at http://www.nature.com/embor.About EMBO
Leading peer-reviewed journals - The EMBO Journal, EMBO reports and Molecular Systems Biology - span all aspects of molecular biology and reflect how science is shaping the world. EMBO-sponsored training and networking activities impact thousands of scientists every year, promoting collaboration in all areas of molecular biology - within Europe and worldwide. EMBO is renowned for the quality and funding of these programmes and activities that include EMBO Courses & Workshops, EMBO Long-and Short-term Fellowships, the EMBO Young Investigator Programme, the EMBO Science & Society Programme, EMBO Installation Grants and EMBO Women in Science.
Annual awards, such as the EMBO Gold Medal and the EMBO Award for Communication in the Life Sciences, recognise significant contributions of European researchers to the advancement of science.
Suzanne Beveridge | idw
Could this protein protect people against coronary artery disease?
17.11.2017 | University of North Carolina Health Care
Microbial resident enables beetles to feed on a leafy diet
17.11.2017 | Max-Planck-Institut für chemische Ökologie
The formation of stars in distant galaxies is still largely unexplored. For the first time, astron-omers at the University of Geneva have now been able to closely observe a star system six billion light-years away. In doing so, they are confirming earlier simulations made by the University of Zurich. One special effect is made possible by the multiple reflections of images that run through the cosmos like a snake.
Today, astronomers have a pretty accurate idea of how stars were formed in the recent cosmic past. But do these laws also apply to older galaxies? For around a...
Just because someone is smart and well-motivated doesn't mean he or she can learn the visual skills needed to excel at tasks like matching fingerprints, interpreting medical X-rays, keeping track of aircraft on radar displays or forensic face matching.
That is the implication of a new study which shows for the first time that there is a broad range of differences in people's visual ability and that these...
Computer Tomography (CT) is a standard procedure in hospitals, but so far, the technology has not been suitable for imaging extremely small objects. In PNAS, a team from the Technical University of Munich (TUM) describes a Nano-CT device that creates three-dimensional x-ray images at resolutions up to 100 nanometers. The first test application: Together with colleagues from the University of Kassel and Helmholtz-Zentrum Geesthacht the researchers analyzed the locomotory system of a velvet worm.
During a CT analysis, the object under investigation is x-rayed and a detector measures the respective amount of radiation absorbed from various angles....
The quantum world is fragile; error correction codes are needed to protect the information stored in a quantum object from the deteriorating effects of noise. Quantum physicists in Innsbruck have developed a protocol to pass quantum information between differently encoded building blocks of a future quantum computer, such as processors and memories. Scientists may use this protocol in the future to build a data bus for quantum computers. The researchers have published their work in the journal Nature Communications.
Future quantum computers will be able to solve problems where conventional computers fail today. We are still far away from any large-scale implementation,...
Pillared graphene would transfer heat better if the theoretical material had a few asymmetric junctions that caused wrinkles, according to Rice University...
15.11.2017 | Event News
15.11.2017 | Event News
30.10.2017 | Event News
17.11.2017 | Physics and Astronomy
17.11.2017 | Health and Medicine
17.11.2017 | Studies and Analyses