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Women in scientific careers: current challenges and visions for the future Dr. Liisa Husu Hanken School of Economics Helsinki, Finland Sauvons la recherche,

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Presentation on theme: "Women in scientific careers: current challenges and visions for the future Dr. Liisa Husu Hanken School of Economics Helsinki, Finland Sauvons la recherche,"— Presentation transcript:

1 Women in scientific careers: current challenges and visions for the future Dr. Liisa Husu Hanken School of Economics Helsinki, Finland Sauvons la recherche, Université d´automne, Toulouse, October 4, 2008

2 Husu 2008 Why promote women and gender equality in science?  Human rights argument: –everybody should be able to realize her/his potential, regardless of gender  Excellence and quality argument: – best brains and talents should be recruited to research, regardless of gender

3 Husu why promote  Scientific labour force argument –recruitment base for research is diminishing with smaller cohorts  need to recruit both women and men  National economy argument – it is economically wasteful for society not to utilize fully the talents of highly educated women (majority of graduates!)

4 Husu 2008  Epistemological argument –researchers with more diverse (gender, ethnic, class etc.) backgrounds representing broader groups in society formulate more diverse and different research questions produce more multidimensional research Quality through diversity

5 Husu 2008 European setting: slow progress  Majority of university graduates have been women since the 1990s  Women earn 4 out of 10 doctorates  Only 15% of full professors are women - annual growth rate ca 1% units  Across the EU, less than a third of all researchers women in 2004

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10 Technology and business research: an overwhelmingly male domain Over 90% of European engineering and technology professors are male Over 80% of researchers in the Business and Enterprise sector are male

11 Husu 2008 Considerable diversity across Europe  in research intensity, scientific infrastructure, tertiary education intensity, history of women’s engagement in Higher Education and scientific professions, gender equality agendas, work-life balance provisions...

12 Husu 2008 Common factors  a lack of gender balance in decision making about science policy and among those who determine what constitutes “good science”. Teresa Rees: National Policies on Women and Science in Europe 2002

13 Husu 2008 Traditional frame to approach inequalities in science and academia  women are the problem that needs to be fixed or  women have problems in research careers

14 Husu 2008 Focus on scientific organisations  Change in conceptualising the debate on women in science in the 1990s:  Focus on academic and scientific organisations: how they treat and approach women and men & produce, reproduce (or deconstruct!) gendered hierarchies and cultures

15 Husu 2008 Only women have gender?  Men in science and academia also problematized  Academic masculinities  Men and academic networking  Homosociability  Master – apprentice relationships

16 Husu 2008 Points of policy intervention (Harding & McGregor 1995)

17 Husu 2008 Measures promoting gender equality in science in Europe  Equal treatment legislation  Commitment to gender mainstreaming  National committee on W & Science  W & S unit in Research Ministry  Sex-aggregated statistics  Development of GE indicators  Gender balance targets in public committees  Gender balance targets in university com.  Gender equality plans in universities and res.inst.  Gender studies and research in universities  Programmes on W & S, spec. funding available  Nationwide centres on Women and Science

18 Husu 2008 Main challenges in Europe  European Commission: Women in Science – Excellence and Innovation – Gender Equality in Science 2005  Empowering women in decision-making positions in research and technology  Reconciliation of researchers´ professional and private life  Gender and definition of scientific excellence

19 Husu 2008  Strengthening of gender research  Increasing the participation of women in science, technology and innovation

20 Husu 2008 Future European priorities European Commission: Women in Science – Excellence and Innovation – Gender Equality in Science 2005  Improving scientific excellence by promoting gender awareness and fairness  Boosting the numbers of women in leading positions

21 Husu 2008  Strengthening gender research and gender dimension in research  Enhancing the role of women in engineering and innovations  Research careers allowing for a reconciliation of professional and private life

22 Husu 2008  Gender monitoring in the member states  More efficient gender monitoring of the EU Research Framework Programmes

23 Husu 2008 US NAS Report (2006)  Beyond Bias and Barriers: Fulfilling the Potential of Women in Academic Science and Engineering by the National Academy of Sciences, National Academy of Engineering, and Institute of Medicine of the National Academies by the National Academy of Sciences, National Academy of Engineering, and Institute of Medicine of the National Academies

24 Husu 2008 Key findings  Women have ability and drive to succeed in science and engineering  Women who are interested in science and engineering careers are lost at every educational transition  Problem not simply the pipeline

25 Husu 2008 … NAS (2006)  Women are very likely to face discrimination in every field of science and engineering  Most people, men and women, hold implicit gender biases

26 Husu 2008 … NAS (2006)  Evaluation criteria contain arbitrary and subjective components which disadvantage women  Organisational structures and rules in academia contribute significantly to the under-use of women in academic science and engineering

27 Husu 2008 Women in scientific careers: state of the art today  Relative advances but continuing contradictions  Can Europe afford the waste of talents?  Critical gender lense on research environments and conditions

28 Husu 2008 Equality equals quality  Thorough institutional transformation towards greater gender awareness and fairness in all scientific organisations is absolutely necessary to keep the best talents in research and to reach excellence


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