Women and Science in the EU: Perceptions from the East

author: Mariana Calin, Materials Science and Engineering Faculty, University Politehnica of Bucharest
published: Feb. 20, 2008,   recorded: February 2008,   views: 3409


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The issue of Women and Science and more specifically, of women and scientific careers has been attracting considerable attention in recent years at the EU level. Concern about the considerable waste of human resources and the persistence of institutional discrimination impeding women’s scientific careers has prompted a number of significant documents and concerted action at the trans-national level designed to tackle these entrenched problems. Although female participation in science has increased in recent decades, women are still rarely seen in top scientific positions, such as professorships or other high-level research positions. Career opportunities in science are determined by a number of complex factors, which cannot easily be described using simple statistical indicators. ‘Internal’ factors (which depend on the organization, operation, and structuring of the scientific community itself) play an important role. The internal factors interact with ‘external’ factors, which are determined and shaped by society at large – such as existing gender roles inside and outside the family, the changing status of women with regard to education and the labor market, and the political framework. The existing differences, based on the historical and political background from different countries, must not stand in the way of women of Europe coming together as a unified force to develop a common strategy and agenda for realizing gender equality in science in an enlarged Europe. Women in the East and the West still know too little and display sometime limited interest in what what’s happening on the ‘other side’. Women in the East express high hopes that the legal rights and directives of the EU and higher standards of the older members of the EU will have a positive impact on gender equality policies in the Eastern European countries. Using gender sensitive indicators and statistics, this lecture will present an overview of the presence and participation of women in science, and will show gender-specific patterns of career opportunities in Western and Eastern European countries. A short presentation of the existing efforts at European level in promoting gender equality in science and increasing the proportion of women scientists will be also shown. It will be outlined the initiatives, additional measures that need to be taken in order to strengthen the role of female scientists at regional and European level. References

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