Commissioner Dalli: Women Still Underrepresented in STEM, EU Needs to Invest in Research

Belgium Europe Higher Education News by Erudera News Oct 23, 2023

Commissioner Dalli (1)

The gender gap in Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths (STEM) fields persists, and the European Union should invest more in research and development to improve quality of life for all, the European Commissioner for Equality, Helena Dalli, has said.

In an interview with Erudera News, Dalli said that although a gender balance among all PhD graduates has been achieved, women still face underrepresentation in STEM fields.

According to her, the field of STEM illustrates the struggle of translating women’s academic success into equal opportunities in the labor market.

European Commissioner for Equality highlighted the importance of ensuring women have equal career opportunities and receive recognition for their contribution in society.

“In the wake of the green and digital transition, the EU needs to invest in research and development to promote innovation to create better jobs, build a greener society, and improve quality of life. To make sure that is a just transition, we need women to be fully involved in this digital and green revolution so we can build a true Union of Equality,” she said.

The She Figures 2021 report shows that women represent less than a quarter of self-employed specialists in Science and Engineering (S&E) and Information & Communication Technologies (ICT).

Data also indicates women continue to be underrepresented among inventors, and only ten percent of applications to obtain patents come from women.

Last year, the EU introduced Women TechEU, providing financial support of €3.8 million to 50 tech start-ups led by women.

In the EU, women account for only 34 percent of graduates in STEM, according to Girls Go Circular 2022, a project funded by the EU. Meanwhile, globally, they represent 53 percent of STEM graduates.

Commissioner Dalli also highlighted the measures that are being implemented to promote gender equality in STEM fields within the European Education Area and the European Research Area.

She said efforts to encourage women's participation in STEM fields in the European Education Area involve Erasmus+ programs and the Digital Education Action Plan, which aims to close the gender digital skills gap in education and training.

Within the European Research Area, the Commission promotes gender equality in higher education by making the implementation of Gender Equality Plans (GEPs) an eligibility criterion for all public bodies, higher education institutions and research organisations, applying to Horizon Europe,” Dalli told Erudera while pointing out that over 200 research organizations which implemented their own GEP were granted funding.

According to data by Eurostat, 42 percent of the EU population between the ages of 25 and 34 had tertiary education in 2022, a slight increase of one percent from the previous year. Of them, a higher share were women (48 percent) compared to 37 percent of men.

Despite women having more educational achievements, there isn’t any single European country where they earn more than men annually.

>> More Women Than Men Study at Austrian Universities

Related News

University of Amsterdam

Students in Belgium and the Netherlands have joined the wave of protests around the world against the Israel-Hamas war, pitching dozens of tents on campuses, setting up barricades, and playing in drum circles. Pro-Palestianian students are asking their universities to cut ties with Israel.


May 07, 2024

students learning at Ghent University spaces

Flemish universities’ request to offer 10 Master of Science (MSc) programs solely in English and no longer in Dutch has not been accepted by the Flemish government.


Feb 28, 2024


Erasmus+, the EU’s program for education, training, youth, and sport in Europe, enabled academic mobility of more than 1.2 million students, learners, professors, teachers, trainers, and youth over the past year, the 2022 edition of the Erasmus+ Annual Report has shown.


Nov 30, 2023