From collecting and interpreting data to predicting trends, researchers have a key role in the Science, Tech, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) industries.
As we’re seeing across many industries, the percentage of females that work in the research profession is significantly smaller than males. Regardless of how promising it is to see that a growing number of females are starting to explore and start careers in research, the senior roles are still mostly dominated by men.
But is this the case for every country around the world? Is the research profession predominantly males in every country, or are some nations seeing a higher number of females breaking the glass ceiling?
Whether there’s more support or encouragement available in some countries, or if acceptance of females in STEM roles is higher, some countries are leading the way with women dominating the field.
So, when it comes to gender in research, which countries have women at the forefront of the field?
Argentina is setting a great example of gender diversity in the research field, with more than half (54%) of their researchers being female - and Latvia is close behind as, again, more than half (52%) of their country’s research industry is made up of women.
However, Japan and South Korea still have a long way to go; only 16% and 20% respectively of their research industry are made up of females.
Although more females than men are pursuing higher education in the UK and entering fields that were previously dominated by men, females still only make up just a third (39%) of the research field. In 2018-19, over half (57%) of students enrolled in higher education were women in the UK, however, women were drastically underrepresented in several subject areas including; computer science; engineering and tech; mathematical sciences; architecture, building and planning; physical sciences; and business and administrative studies.
So what could the world do to improve gender diversity across the research field? Encouraging more females to strive for more senior and STEM-focused careers, as well as marketing females as successful CEO and founders to subconsciously help younger girls to envisage themselves in those roles when older. Similarly, many women are mothers and caregivers, therefore governments should help support women raising children and getting them back into the workplace.
So, with that in mind, and women continuing to break the glass ceiling in various fields, we ask, is it getting easier for women breaking into these fields?
Research suggests that women are embarking on more STEM-focused degrees and higher education courses, therefore they’re feeling more confident in breaking into these fields. However, top roles and senior job titles are still dominated by males, therefore males need to promote and encourage females to apply and strive to sit on boards and lead teams within this sector.