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Brussels, 05/04/2013 (Agence Europe) - According to a report published by the European Commission on Friday 5 April, women are still under-represented in European research, but the number of women researchers is, however, on the increase.

The report, called She Figures, shows that women account for 33% of researches in the European Union and only 20% of full professorships. Only 15.5% of the heads of higher education are women.

EU Research Commissioner Máire Geoghegan-Quinn regrets the fact that women are in the minority in research, describing the glass ceiling as a serious injustice and a scandalous waste of talent. The Commission wants to promote sexual equality in European research programmes and ensure a profound change in the deeply rooted institutional culture, she explains.

The report shows that women account for 40% of all research jobs in higher education, 40% in the civil service and 19% in companies. Although the proportion of women is going up in all three areas faster than men (rising by 5.1% a year from 2002 to 2009 compared with 3.3% for men), women researchers still have a battle on their hands if they want decision-making jobs because there are two men for every woman on the boards of scientific and administrative councils in Europe.

In 2010, women students (55%) and women graduates (59%) outnumbered their male counterparts, but there were more men than women when it came to doctoral students and doctorates (women representing 49% and 46% respectively). In academic careers, women account for 44% of researchers with a doctorate at the first stage of their careers, while only accounting for 20% of top academic jobs. This under-representation is particularly severe in science and engineering.

The report was prepared by the European Commission (Directorate-General for Research and Innovation and Eurostat) and the statistics representatives of the Helsinki Group of Women in Science: