Is there really equality?
According to the different analysis undertaken to understand the situation of women in the research and innovation sector, gender equality has been progressing in recent years. However, this news should be taken with a pinch of salt, as on the one hand, figures aren’t completely reliable and, on the other, the most conflictive positions in this regard, the senior management positions, still show a very low percentage of equality.
For example, the Elsevier report, which comprises 20 years of studies throughout 12 geographies and 27 disciplines, shows that women write less research articles than men, but their articles are downloaded and quoted in equal measure. While this information may be accurate, it doesn’t reflect the whole story.
In a discussion panel to present the results, professor Rolf Tarrach, president of the Association of European Universities, warned that some researchers, finding themselves in the necessity of fulfilling gender targets fixed by funding organisms, may intentionally select articles written by women, which would alter statistics without reflecting reality.
The reports of the European Commission, “She Figures”, which track the representation of women among researchers and people responsible for decision-making, apart from analysing their working conditions (salary, success in obtaining funding, etc.) and their situation both in scientific publications and as inventors, show that although in the levels of student and postgraduate the number of women is higher than the number of men, there is few female presence in leadership positions, as rectors or vice rectors.
According to Commissioner Carlos Moedas, ‘In the public sector, we decided that it is very important to establish targets because the problem is so big. Even if people can trick the system somehow, it’s important to have those targets.’
It is obvious that there is still a long way to go before reaching full and true gender equality in the research and innovation sector. For this reason, initiatives such as the ‘Prize for Women Innovators’ are so necessary.
We, at Aristos, fully support this kind of initiatives and we are confident that, little by little, women researchers will make a place for themselves in this sector and will reach the positions they deserve by right.
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