Community Research and Development Information Service - CORDIS


Draw the Line! International Conference, Copenhagen 2008 - Papers, proceedings and recommendations

Project ID: 518048
Funded under: FP6-SOCIETY


Over the next decades the general decrease in the population will affect all sectors of higher education and research in Europe. The natural sciences are encountering increasing problems with recruitment, especially of female physics students. Moreover, it is a matter of utmost concern that wellqualified female scientists seldom reach the same top-level positions as their male colleagues but often leave the research system prematurely. These are facts that have been well documented in a number of studies, notably the SHE figures (European Commission, 2004a; European Commission, 2006), the Helsinki Group Reports (Rees, 2002), the ETAN and ENWISE Reports (European Commission, 2004b; European Commission, 2005; European Commission, 2008), the European Commission (2000), Laurila and Young (2001), Carlson (2000) and Barinaga (1994). Though the overall picture is dismal, an interesting configuration of cultural diversity appears in a gendered map of physicists. It is comparatively easier to attract female students in eastern and southern European countries than it is in the North. Moreover, the career paths of male and female physicists seem to follow different patterns according to national context. The primary objectives in the UPGEM project are to identify relevant local cultural historical processes behind this diversity and to get a better understanding of the “brain-drain” of female physicists, who, more often than their male physicists, never make it to the top even though they possess the same formal qualifications as their male colleagues.

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