Women in European Science: She Figures 2006

Only 29 % of EU researchers are women. 28 – 39 % of researchers in the Nordic countries are female, while the Baltic States are in the lead in Europe with 43 - 53 % women in research. These are some of the main conclusions in the European Commission’s new report Women and Science – statistics and reports : She Figures 2006.
Low Prestige in the Baltic Science Sector?
There are reasons to believe that the high proportion of women in research in Latvia, Lithuania and Estonia is a sign of the low prestige and salaries in the science sector in these countries rather than an indication of highly developed gender equality: a NordForsk Policy Brief about the science systems in Russia and the Baltic states which will be published shortly states that “there are indications that the more teaching is involved, and the less prestigious positions there are, the more women you find”. The Policy Brief, written by Aadne Aasland, Senior researcher at the Norwegian Institute for Urban and Regional Research, further points out that “there are few women among full-time professors in all three countries”.

She Figures 2006
The She figures 2006 analysis clearly shows that gender imbalance is a serious issue for European research at present. “Women’s increasing participation in the European Research Area is integral to its success. There can be no room for gender bias if the EU is to move towards the 3 % objective”, Janez Potocnik says in the report’s preface.

The report deals only with professionals who have a tertiary level of education. Detailed attention is given to employees within science and technology, and particularly to those employed as researchers.

The Nordic and the Baltic Figures
She Figures 2006 presents the proportions of female researchers in 30 European countries in 2003. The EU average is 29 %, a slight increase from 27 % in 1999. Among the Nordic countries only Denmark is below this average with 28 %. Norway touched the EU level of 29 %, while Finland, Sweden and Iceland were above average with proportions of 30 %, 36 % and 39 % female researchers respectively in 2003.

The Baltic countries stand out and take the European lead: In Latvia the majority of researchers were women in 2003 (53 %)! Lithuania had a share of 48 % female researchers, and in Estonia 43 % of researchers were women in 2003.

Download the She Figures 2006.
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