A short study recently published by the European Union demonstrates that research is still a male-dominated field. According to this investigation the number of female professors in Europe is on average 27%. Finland contributes the highest percentage at 35%, with Germany bringing up the rear with just 9%. This fact is particularly noteworthy when one considers that the number of female students has for many years been above 50%. To date approximately just 40% of submitted PhD dissertations in Europe are written by women and the number of female scientists continues to decrease significantly after PhD level, as women scientists tend to drop out more frequently than their male counterparts. An example of this is the number of female scientists who apply for EMBO post-doctoral fellowships which lies at 40%, while the 'EMBO Young Investigator Programme' aimed at young, independent scientists geared toward professorship level receives just 25% of its applications from female scientists.
The German Federal Minister for Education and Science has estimated that the education of a scientist to PhD level costs the government and the individual together approximately 500.000 Euro. In addition to this financial loss,, the drain of intellectual resources lost each time a female scientist departs from the field of research, is indeed considerable.
"As in the past it's still the women who are staying at home" explains Gerlind Wallon, leader of the EMBO Programme 'Women in Science'. "We wish to send out a positive signal with our new Restart-Fellowship and enable women that have taken a career break for the upbringing of their children to re-enter the scientific profession". The Restart Fellowship is just one of a number of measures on the route to equality for wo
Contact: Ellen Peerenboom
European Molecular Biology Laboratory