Towards Achieving Gender Balance in Science Jobs

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Subtle gender biases by science faculties in US universities have been shown to favour male students in the recruitment process for a laboratory manager. The authors of a recently published study in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences note in their conclusions: "Our results revealed that both male and female faculty judged a female student to be less competent and less worthy of being hired than an identical male student, and also offered her a smaller starting salary and less career mentoring.” The article can be accessed via the following link:

In Europe there is national legislation to try to achieve equal opportunities and the EC aspires to achieve gender balance in research recruitment through the FP7 rules. The European Charter for Researchers and The Code of Conduct for the Recruitment of Researchers provide a framework for this.

For Marie Curie Actions there is target of at least 40% participation by women to be achieved overall by encouraging equal opportunities and by benchmarking gender participation. The Actions are designed to ensure that researchers can achieve an appropriate work/life balance and will contribute to facilitate resuming a research career after a break. In the implementation of the Marie Curie Actions, attention is also paid to the working conditions, transparency of recruitment processes and career development.

In LA³NET equal opportunities are promoted by encouraging women to apply for positions to try to address the under representation of women in science and engineering, in particular physics. Family-friendly policies are in place at all host partner organisations and networking among female physicists at the local, national and international level will be encouraged, for example by participation in dedicated events and initiatives such as Finding Ada. There is female representation at all levels of the LA³NET project structure providing potential role models for female fellows.