Mathematical and natural sciences have long and honorable traditions of participation by highly creative 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, especially in developing countries.
The project “A Global Approach to the Gender Gap in Mathematical, Computing, and Natural Sciences: How to Measure It, How to Reduce It?” will produce sound data to support the choices of interventions that ICSU and member unions can feasibly undertake.
Currently, existing data on participation of women in the mathematical and natural sciences is scattered, outdated, and inconsistent across regions and research fields. The project will provide evidence to support the making of informed decisions on science policy. Temporal trends will be included, as the situation of women in science is constantly evolving, sometimes with some negative developments. Data will be collected via both a joint global survey and a bibliographic study of publication patterns. The survey is planned to reach 45,000 respondents in more than 130 countries using at least 10 languages, while the study of publication patterns 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 agents, will be provided.