The number of female students and graduates at bachelor’s, master’s and doctoral level has increased over the past years, according to She Figures which is a tri-annual study that monitors gender equality in research and innovation.
Nevertheless, the report has revealed that women continue to be under-represented in research and innovation, Erudera.com reports.
According to the publication, at bachelor’s and master’s levels, women outnumber men as students (54 percent) and graduates (59 percent) as well as at the doctoral level with 48 percent being women.
Nonetheless, there are still differences in study fields between women and men, as women continue to represent less than a quarter of doctoral graduates in the ICT field. However, they represent 60 percent or more in health & welfare as well as 67 percent in education.
Figures further show that women represent only 33 percent of researchers. At the same time, at the highest level of academia, they continue to be under-represented, holding fewer professorship positions (26 percent).
Women are also less likely to hold positions in science and engineering; 41 percent of them are employed as scientists and engineers, while among the self-employed, 25 percent are involved in science and engineering as well as ICT occupations.
Following the report’s findings, the Commissioner for Innovation, Research, Culture, Education and Youth, Mariya Gabriel, said that the figures show that Europe’s economy, labs and academia depend on women, however, she also pointed out that more must be done in order to promote gender equality, particularly to inspire women for careers in STEM.
“There is no doubt, Europe needs women’s creativity and entrepreneurial potential to shape a more sustainable, green and digital future,” Gabriel added.
In 2019, women represented the majority of the population that is tertiary educated and employed as professionals and technicians in science and technology.
At the European level, the proportion of women working as part-time researchers was higher than men by 3.9 percent, 11.1 percent for women and 7.2 percent for men.
“In addition, 9% of women researchers and 7.7% of men researchers in the HES worked in precarious contracts at European level,” the report notes.
Moreover, during 2019, at HES, a high number of women researchers who were in a couple with children worked under a precarious contract. That year, there wasn’t noted any significant gender difference in the international mobility of researchers during PhD studies.