In Sweden, for example, women form the majority (61%) of students enrolled in a Bachelor’s programme, but their numbers decline as they move up the education ladder, accounting for 49% of doctoral students and only 37% of researchers. The data tool reveals this trend across every region, highlighting the conflict that many women face as they try to reconcile career ambitions with family-caring responsibilities.
Women researchers also tend to work in the academic and government sectors, while men dominate the private sector which offers better salaries and opportunities. This is the case even in countries with high shares of women researchers. In Argentina, for example, 53% of researchers are women. However, they account for only 29% of researchers employed in the private sector.
Perhaps most importantly, the data tool shows just how important it is to encourage girls to pursue mathematics and science at a young age. In every region, women researchers remain the minority in the fields of science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM). In the Republic of Korea, for example, only 18% of researchers are women and they account for just 10% of those working in the field of engineering and technology.
By highlighting trends in different regions and countries, this tool provides a unique view on International Women’s Day (8 March). It is particularly useful for those interested in a global perspective on the gender gap in research, especially in the STEM fields. Available in English, French and Spanish, it can be easily embedded on your website, blog or social media sites.
It should be noted that this tool presents internationally comparable data produced by the Institute. This means that the indicators can be accurately compared across countries with very different contexts for women in science. Yet, due to methodological differences, data are missing for countries such as the United States or Canada. In addition, data are also missing for some developing countries that do not have the resources to collect or report R&D data. The Institute seeks to work with all countries to improve the availability of accurate data that can be compared internationally.
UNESCO initiative to increase data and evidence to support women in STEM professions
The UIS is developing a series of new indicators about the dynamics that shape women’s decisions to pursue STEM careers – from their educational pathways to the social factors, such as starting a family and workplace environment. The data will then be used as an evidence base to better target policies at the country, regional and global levels through a new project, known as SAGA (STEM and Gender Advancement), financed by the Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency (SIDA).