Published: 21.12.2021

She Figures 2021 published

The number of female students and graduates at bachelor's, master's and doctoral levels has grown steadily over the last years. However, women are still under-represented in research and innovation careers. These are some of the key findings of the European Commission's She Figures 2021 report.

The She Figures publication is the main source of pan European, comparable statistics on the state of gender equality in research and innovation (R&I). It is a tri-annual study carried out by the European Commission. Published in 2003 for the first time, it follows the journey of women and men researchers, starting from the time they are studying and graduate, looking at their participation in the labour market as researchers and their working conditions, their career advancement and participation in decision-making positions and R&I output, including inventorship.

Statistical correspondents from EU Member States and Associated Countries contribute to the data collection. The 2021 report extends its data collection to G-20 countries, where data are available, going beyond the EU-27 Member States, the UK, and Associated Countries – allowing for comparison with third countries. Statistics for the Faroe Islands, unfortunately, are not yet available and therefore not included in the report. The Faroe Islands Research Council is, however, about to launch a new statistics collection regarding R&I in the Faroes Islands, and the data collected for the European Commission’s She Figures report are an obvious set of data to be included in this upcoming collection.

Mariya Gabriel, Commissioner for Innovation, Research, Culture, Education and Youth, welcomed this year's report and said: “The latest She Figures report highlights that Europe's economy, labs and academia already depend on women. However, it also shows that we still need to do more to promote gender equality, in particular to inspire girls for a career in STEM. There is no doubt, Europe needs women's creativity and entrepreneurial potential to shape a more sustainable, green and digital future.”

The She Figures 2021 publication highlights that, on average, at bachelor's and master's levels, women outnumber men as students (54%) and graduates (59%), and there is almost gender balance at doctoral level (48%). However, disparities between study fields persist. For example, women still represent less than a quarter of doctoral graduates in the ICT field (22%), while they represent 60% or more in the fields of health & welfare and education (60% and 67% respectively).

Furthermore, women represent only around one third of researchers (33%). At the highest level of academia, women remain under-represented, holding about one-quarter of full professorship positions (26%). Women are also less likely to be employed as scientists and engineers (41%) and are under-represented among self-employed professionals in science and engineering and ICT occupations (25%).

She Figures 2021 is available here.