What surprised me the most is that the Countries having a higher percentage of female researchers are not those, well, generally associated with better gender balance. This looks contradictory. I have come across a higher (higher, not high) percentage of female researchers in a few cases before, including when attending university in Italy (although, to be fair, this mostly applied to older generations). I often wondered what this is indicative of.
I was curious to see if any correlation exists between the percentage of women in research and 1) the “inequality index” and 2) the average salary for early stage researchers. I’ve limited the analysis to European Countries as they provide a relatively homogeneous dataset in terms of policies, university management and investment in research (I said ‘relatively‘!).
Although neither correlation is particularly strong, I wonder if any of the following could explain the distribution in the SciDev.Net map:
On an additional note, it seems that a low gender inequality score does not guarantee fair career progression to women in research, as indicated by the large distribution of the ‘male bonus’ salary gap among the lowest-scoring Countries.
I’m not much closer to understand what the number of female researchers tells about a Country’s national and academic policies, but it seems to me that individual percentages mask complex (and not necessarily straightforward) attitudes towards gender equality. And towards research as a ‘promising’ career option too.