She Figures 2009 Statistics and Indicators on Gender Equality in Science

What is the proportion of female and male researchers in Europe, and how is this balance evolving over time? In which scientific fields are women better represented? Do the career paths of female and male researchers follow similar patterns? Are rates of women in science comparable across Europe? How many women occupy senior positions in scientific research in Europe? And is there any age trend that can be observed? To answer all these questions and others, She Figures offers numbers.

Published in 2003, 2006 and 2009, She Figures is an ongoing work to present statistics and indicators on Human Resources in the RTD sector and on gender equality in science.

Women in scientific research remain a minority, accounting for 30% of researchers in the EU in 2006. In the EU, their proportion is growing faster than that of men (6.3% annually over 2002-2006 compared with 3.7% for men); and the same goes for the proportion of women among scientists and engineers (6.2% annually compared with 3.7% for men). On average in the EU-27, the balance between female and male researchers is better in the government and higher education sector than in the business enterprise sector.

In the EU-27, 45% of all PhD graduates are women in 2006; they equal or outnumber men in all broad fields of study, except for science, mathematics and computing (41%), and engineering, manufacturing and construction (25%). Over the period 2002-2006, there has been an increase in the proportion of female researchers in almost all fields of science in the EU-27.

However, women’s academic career remains markedly characterised by strong vertical segregation: women represent only 44% of grade C (the lowest step of a typical academic career) academic staff, 36% of grade B academic staff and 18% of grade A academic staff (full professors), with women being even more heavily underrepresented in the field of science and engineering. The situation appears more favourable for the youngest generations of female academics but the gender gap is still persistent. On average throughout the EU-27, only 13% of institutions in the higher education sector are headed by women and only 9% of universities have a female head.

She Figures 2009 makes clear that there is an imbalance in the number, seniority and influence of women and men in scientific studies and professions. This statement is firmly grounded in the data collected by Eurostat and the Statistical Correspondents of the Helsinki Group. Although nearly all indicators show a minor growth of the number of women in scientific careers, proactive policies are needed to push forward a better equality of opportunities for female and male researchers. She Figures is recommended reading for all policy-makers, researchers, teachers, students, and parents with a vision of a democratic, competitive and technologically advanced Europe.

Source: DG Research

She Figures 2009 Statistics and Indicators on Gender Equality in Science


European Commission/ Directorate-General for Research: She Figures 2009. Statistics and Indicators on Gender Equality in Science, 2009.



Publication Year



DG Research.

Geographical focus
  • Europe

Entry created by Katarina Rohsmann on January 22, 2010
Modified on January 22, 2010