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Women scientists struggle to climb career ladder, finds study

A Swiss study has found a link between social background, gender and successful scientific careers. According to the publicly funded study, women and graduates from less privileged backgrounds have fewer chances of a successful scientific career as they have a smaller contact...

A Swiss study has found a link between social background, gender and successful scientific careers. According to the publicly funded study, women and graduates from less privileged backgrounds have fewer chances of a successful scientific career as they have a smaller contact network, and women in particular are less likely to publish their work. At Swiss universities, the majority of teaching and research staff are male, and come predominantly from higher social classes. Only seven per cent of professors are women, although the number of women graduating from university has risen for all subjects in the last few years. The study found that only half as many female graduates as male graduates embark upon a doctorate. Surprisingly, the largest gap is in the traditional sciences such as biology and chemistry, whereas women are often more equally represented in traditionally male domains such as physics, mathematics and the technical sciences.