Mathematical and natural sciences have long and honourable traditions of participation by highly able women contributors. However, the percentages of women scientists remain shockingly low and there is a significant gender gap at all levels between women and men. Barriers to achievement by women persist worldwide, especially in low- and middle-income countries.
Currently, existing data on the participation of women in the mathematical and natural sciences is scattered, outdated and inconsistent across regions and research fields. In order to address this disparity, the International Science Council-funded project “A Global Approach to the Gender Gap in Mathematical, Computing, and Natural Sciences: How to Measure It, How to Reduce It?” will provide evidence to support informed decision-making on science policy. The aim of the project is to produce sound data to support the choices of interventions that the International Science Council and its members can feasibly undertake.
As part of its efforts, the project is currently running a global survey of mathematical, computing and natural scientists. The survey aims to reach 45,000 respondents in more than 130 countries, and is available in several different languages.
In addition to the global survey, data is also being collected through a bibliographic study of publication patterns, which will analyze comprehensive metadata sources corresponding to publications of more than 500,000 scientists since 1970. Contrasts and common ground across regions and cultures, less developed and highly developed countries, men and women, mathematical and natural sciences, will be highlighted.
Moreover, the project aims to provide easy access to materials proven to be useful in encouraging girls and young women to study and pursue education in mathematics and natural sciences. Regional information about careers, jobs and salaries directed at parents, schools and other relevant actors will be provided.