SWG GRI: We need more talent in the pipeline

Standing Working Group on Gender in Research and Innovation (SWG GRI), chaired by Marcela Linková, the head of the Center for Gender and Science,  published a position paper on the future gender equality priority in the European Research Area (ERA). The paper outlines its recommendations for the future of gender equality and builds on analyses of the current state of its implementation. This develops and supports the recently adopted European Commission’s Gender Equality Strategy 2020-2025 and the ERAC Opinion on the Future of ERA. 

Currently, She Figures 2018 reports that women make up almost one-half of all doctoral graduates (47.9% in 2016 compared to 45.9% in 2007) but only account for about one-third of researchers (33.4% in 2016 compared to 33% in 2012 and 30% in 2006). In most countries, the number of female PhD graduates grew at a lower rate than male graduates in various narrow STEM fields (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics), and women make up only 21% of PhD graduates in information and communication technologies and 29% in engineering, manufacturing, and construction, whereas men constitute only 32% of PhDs in education. Furthermore, women continue to be severely under-represented in the Business Enterprise Sector, where they make up only 20.2%. At senior academic levels, women comprised only 23.7% of full professors in 2016, up from 19% in 2007. The rate of change, especially in senior and decision-making positions, is extremely slow.

Systematic barriers in the organisation and culture of research and innovation (R&I) thus continue to exist. This means that talent alone is not always enough to guarantee success. Numerous factors— conscious and unconscious, cultural and institutional (including measures of success being gendered)—cause women to face barriers to progression that are not experienced to the same degree by their male colleagues.

We need more talent in the pipeline overall, so it is not about pushing men out but keeping women in, particularly in STEM) areas. It is critical that policy-makers and stakeholders in Europe are transparent and visible in the actions they take to address gender inequality, so that women are encouraged to remain in the R&I system and that the knowledge produced benefits all segments of society equally.

You can find more on the recommendations of SWG GRI in the position paper itself.