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Science gender split still varies widely among EU countries


Denmark has the largest share of female scientists and engineers, and Hungary the smallest

The gender split of scientists and engineers continues to show wide variation among EU member states, according to the bloc’s latest official statistics.

Across the EU as a whole in 2022, women filled 41 per cent of these roles, the bloc’s statistics agency Eurostat revealed on 12 February.

There were almost 7.3 million female scientists and engineers in the EU, it said, up by 310,500 on the previous year.

But the agency flagged that the proportion of female scientists and engineers “varied widely” among countries, with Denmark having the most on 53 per cent, and Hungary the least on 31 per cent.

There was no clear pattern by geography or recency of joining the EU: Lithuania and Bulgaria placed second and third on 52 and 51 per cent respectively, while Finland and Germany were second and third from bottom on 32 and 34 per cent respectively.

More women needed

The release of the figures came a day after the International Day of Women and Girls in Science, which the European Commission took as a chance to reflect on the gender makeup of the EU’s scientific workforce.

In a statement, research commissioner Iliana Ivanova highlighted that women make up just 25 per cent of self-employed professionals in science, engineering and ICT in the EU, adding: “The conclusion is clear: we still need more women in science.”

But she said she was “heartened by the many concrete actions and measures the EU has already taken to not only strengthen the gender dimension of research and innovation but specifically to support and champion women in science, technology, engineering and mathematics”.

Such measures include requiring institutions that employ applicants to the EU R&I programme to have plans in place to increase their gender equality. “Only if we address the crucial aspects of gender equality, diversity and inclusion can we be sure that research and innovation address challenges concerning us all,” Ivanova said.