CRG: Top European research institutes move towards gender equality

CRG: Top European research institutes move towards gender equality

News from CRG

Approximately half of the PhD students in Europe are women. However, the levels of women researchers decrease at the postdoctoral level and drop dramatically in leadership positions. These numbers demonstrate a dramatic waste of talent and resources in education, research and the labour market.

Thirteen research institutes in life sciences in Europe, all of them partnering the EU-LIFE alliance, are to beat the current unbalanced situation regarding men and women in science. Supported by a gender expert organisation they will undertake the LIBRA project, aimed to evaluate the current status of gender equality in the different institutes and implement innovative actions to increase representation and participation of women in leadership positions in life sciences in Europe as well as raising science excellence by including sex and gender dimension in their research.

Even in disciplines in which women are more numerous, as the life sciences (with ~56% female PhD holders at the EU-27 level), women’s strong presence among students and researchers does not translate into their proportionate access to senior and high-level decision-making positions. Only 20% of full professors in Europe are women as reported by She Figures 2012 for EU-27. “It’s time to get to work. We all know statistics related to this topic and now it’s time for action,” states Isabelle Vernos, ICREA research professor, senior group leader at the Centre for Genomic Regulation in Barcelona and coordinator of the LIBRA project. “Thanks to the LIBRA project we will be able to evaluate our own institutions and to start a collaborative process that will lead to concrete actions and policies not only for the participating research institutions but also for the whole scientific community” explains Vernos, who is also chairing the gender balance working group at the European Research Council (ERC).

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