Equality: the proportion of female researchers varies widely across the world

Despite efforts to achieve greater gender equality, women are still underrepresented in the sciences. According to UNESCO, nearly 30 percent of researchers worldwide in 2016 were female. According to this, the lowest number of female scientists is in South and West Asia (19 percent) as well as in East Asia and the Pacific (24 percent). Roughly parity prevails in the sciences in Central Asia (48 percent) and Latin America (45 percent). The percentage of women in European science is slightly higher than the average with 33 percent in Western Europe and 39 percent in Central and Eastern Europe.

In a European comparison, Germany ranks fourth from the bottom with nearly 28 percent of the score, ahead of France, the Czech Republic and the Netherlands. According to UNESCO, most of the researchers are located in North Macedonia, Latvia and Lithuania, at about 52 percent each, followed by Serbia, Bulgaria and Moldova, with 49 to 50 percent of women.

In its latest data sheet entitled Women in Science from 2019, UNESCO notes that despite the growing demand for cross-border comparable statistics, only limited national data is available. The states collect data largely for the individual, partly as full-time equivalents. In some countries the proportion of women is estimated, while others do not collect any data. Therefore, the paper summarizes the most recent data available to the individual from different years.

Accordingly, the world’s highest proportion of women in science are in Myanmar (75 percent), Venezuela (62 percent), Azerbaijan (59 percent), Mongolia (57 percent) and Tunisia (56 percent).

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