Gender gap at education level shrinks, but women still under-represented in research and innovation

The number of female students and graduates at bachelor's, master's and doctoral levels has grown steadily over the last years. However, women are still under-represented in research and innovation careers.

These are some of the key findings of the European Commission's She Figures 2021 report, which since 2003 monitors the level of progress towards gender equality in research and innovation in the European Union and beyond.

Mariya Gabriel, Commissioner for Innovation, Research, Culture, Education and Youth, welcomed this year's report and said: “The latest She Figures report highlights that Europe's economy, labs and academia already depend on women. However, it also shows that we still need to do more to promote gender equality, in particular to inspire girls for a career in STEM. There is no doubt, Europe needs women's creativity and entrepreneurial potential to shape a more sustainable, green and digital future.”

The She Figures 2021 publication highlights that, on average, at bachelor's and master's levels, women outnumber men as students (54%) and graduates (59%), and there is almost gender balance at doctoral level (48%). However, disparities between study fields persist. For example, women still represent less than a quarter of doctoral graduates in the ICT field (22%), while they represent 60% or more in the fields of health & welfare and education (60% and 67% respectively).

Furthermore, women represent only around one third of researchers (33%). At the highest level of academia, women remain under-represented, holding about one-quarter of full professorship positions (26%). Women are also less likely to be employed as scientists and engineers (41%) and are under-represented among self-employed professionals in science and engineering and ICT occupations (25%).


Image: By World Economic Forum from Cologny, Switzerland - Women in Economic Decision-making: Sheryl SandbergUploaded by January, CC BY-SA 2.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/...


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European Commission press service, Brussels.

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