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Gender balance in research, why is so important?

Numerous studies point out the improvement of the general society when it is more equitable in gender. The research “Gender equality improves life satisfaction for men and women”, realized by Andre P. Audette et altri in October 2018, utilizing survey data from the World Values Survey and Eurobarometer, found strong and consistent evidence that promoting gender equality leads to greater subjective well-being. Furthermore, the study demonstrates that policies promoting gender equality tend to improve the quality of life for everyone, not just direct beneficiaries of the policies (women). Indeed, men also see strong and significant gains in life satisfaction when the sexes are more equal.

The Academy and Scientific Research can also improve its results in a gender-balanced environment.

In a recent study carried out by the European Commission entitled “Structural change in research institutions: Enhancing excellence, gender equality and efficiency in research and innovation”, the reasons why we need gender equality are analysed.

Gender inequality generates wasted opportunities and cognitive errors in knowledge, technology and innovation. Research has shown that gender bias has important implications for the content of science itself.

The integration of sex and gender analysis in the research content increases the quality of research and improves the acceptance of innovation in the market.

In the European Union, while men’s and women’s access to science in schools and universities has improved immeasurably, the same cannot be said for women’s access to scientific careers. Women account today for almost 60% of university degrees in Europe, and they achieve excellent grades, better on average than their male counterparts. However, their presence at the top of scientific and academic careers is scarce. Only 18% of full professors in Europe are women; 13% of heads of higher education institutions and 22% of board members in research decision-making. Women’s skills, knowledge and qualifications are grossly underused in the labour market.

The low numbers of women in decision making positions throughout the science and technology system is a waste of talent that European economies cannot afford. Nor can Europe afford to waste the professional contributions of so many of its best-prepared citizens.

The IQTC is willing to achieve better results in gender equity and promote the recruitment of female researchers in each step of the scientific career. 

Nowadays, the percentage of women in the institute is 28% of the predoctoral researchers, 18% of the postdoctoral researchers and 11% of the senior researchers: these numbers must increase in the next years so we are studying which actions to take to reverse this trend.