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February, 2008 Issue Prepared by the UNECE Statistical Division, the UNECE Facts and Figures articles are based on data from the UNECE Statistical Database. For more information contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
Women in research: recognizing the untapped potential
14 February 2008
The snapshot of the share of women researchers presented in our chart shows considerable variation between countries. Overall, women are clearly under-represented. In the EU as a whole, women account only for a one third of the research staff. A somewhat higher proportion of female researchers is observed mainly in the eastern EU member countries and also in several CIS countries.
The higher presence of women researchers in the latter countries reflects the concentration of the R&D activities in the higher education and governmental sectors there, in contrast to the western economies, where the business enterprise sector dominates the R&D field. In fact, several studies show that in general the under-representation of women in R&D is more acute in the business enterprises and less in the education or governmental sectors.
Highly skilled human resources in the R&D field are at the heart of innovation and technological progress, the engine of sustained economic growth. Thus it is important to recognize the potential of reducing gender bias in R&D, given that a high and rising proportion of students in tertiary education are women (see UNECE Weekly #209), and to understand the underlying factors of their limited presence in R&D activities.
Source:Eurostat and national statistics.