Prof. Eleni Apospori, Project Coordinator
February 11th marks the United Nations International Day of Women and Girls in Science (IDWGS). The celebration of the IDWGS aims to acknowledge the important role of women and girls in Science and Technology across the globe and raise awareness on gender imbalances in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) fields.
The achievements of women and girls in science have long been downplayed or ignored. Discrimination and underrepresentation of women are still prevalent. According to She Figures 2021 , in 2018 the difference between the proportion of women among Bachelor’s and Masters’ graduates across all fields of education and in STEM fields was 24 percentage points and the difference between women among PhD graduates across all fields and in STEM was 10 percentage points. Data such as those presented above show that inequality in the participation of women and girls in science has its roots in the early stage of selection of the field of study. This inequality is propagated all the way up to the high-level academic positions (professorial level) where women remain largely underrepresented.
The gender gap in science results in loss of talent and missed opportunities for scientific advancement, leading to reduced innovation and development. Stereotypes are still strong in STEM education due to the prevalent belief that STEM fields are better suited to boys; however, closing the gender gap in STEM education could result in an increase of per capita GDP in the EU of 2.2%-3.0% (€610-€820 billion) by 2050 . Women working in STEM fields face working conditions that hamper work-life balance, reduced career advancement opportunities, and pay gap .
TARGETED-MPI celebrates the IDWGS and strives towards a more equal future for female scientists. Through our project activities, we aim to contribute to the closure of the gender gap and the creation of a more equal and inclusive academic environment for women through the development, implementation, and monitoring of Gender Equality Plans in the TARGETED-MPI partner organisations. Already, our partner organisations have developed their initial Gender Equality Plans and are in the process of implementing them, thus contributing to the abovementioned project objectives.
 European Commission, 2021. She Figures 2021: Gender in Research and Innovation Statistics and Indicators. Available online at: https://op.europa.eu/en/web/eu-law-and-publications/publication-detail/-/publication/67d5a207-4da1-11ec-91ac-01aa75ed71a1  EIGE, 2017. Economic benefits of gender equality in the EU: How gender equality in STEM education leads to economic growth. Available online at: https://eige.europa.eu/gender-mainstreaming/policy-areas/economic-and-financial-affairs/economic-benefits-gender-equality/stem  EIGE, 2017. Work in the EU: women and men at opposite ends. Available online at: https://eige.europa.eu/publications/work-eu-women-and-men-opposite-ends