A report published today by the European Commission establishes for the first time the situation of women scientists in 30 European countries . The report is presented at a seminar opening today in Madrid and organised with the Spanish Presidency of the European Union on "Women and Science: promoting women in the scientific sector".
The report, prepared by a group of national representatives known as the `Helsinki Group on Women and Science`, compiles national statistical profiles which are rich data sources showing scientifically how sex-segregation is a feature of scientific careers in all the countries, although there are variations in the specificity of patterns. There is considerable wastage of women’s skills and knowledge as a result of the ‘leaky pipeline’, whereby women drop out of scientific careers in disproportionate numbers at every level. Broadly, women now constitute the majority of undergraduates overall. Although they remain a minority in some science subjects and in engineering, they are in the majority in medical and biological sciences. The nearer the top of the academic hierarchy, the lower the proportion of women. Indeed, universally, women are just a tiny minority of people in top scientific jobs.
Said Research Commissioner Philippe Busquin: "The data demonstrate that women scientists are indeed underrepresented in the key positions of scientific research. This confirms that the picture painted in preliminary studies is not an emotional one, but the result of discrimination arising from multiple factors. These need to be addressed if we are to improve the position and role of women in scientific research, and hence reinforce the European Research Area."
Brigitte Degen | alphagalileo
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