Women Representation in R&D in Countries Around the World

Women in Science Representation in R&D
Source: Wikipedia

Throughout the centuries humans fought to reach equality – when it’s not just hypocrisy Ed. – and today, in 2017, we started to have gender equality – in the name of the reciprocal respect and the protection of anybody’s rights.

In this article we are going to discover what’s the women representation in R&D all around the world, based on the research by the Unesco Institute for Statistics. For each Country, they analysed 3 factors:

“Education pipeline”

While more women are enrolling in university, relatively few pursue careers in research. There are many leaks in the pipeline – from stereotypes encountered by girls to the family-caring responsibilities and bias women may face when choosing a career.

“Breakdown by sector” (where women researchers work)

Women researchers tend to work in the academic and government sectors while men dominate the private research sector, which offers better salaries and opportunities for advancement.

“Breakdown by field”.

In most countries, women focus on the social sciences and remain under-represented in engineering and technology. To level the playing field, girls must be encouraged to pursue math and science.
Here we will have a closer look to the percentage presence of women on each region and country, with the help of some interesting infographics.

The research shows that women remain under-represented in R&D in every region of the world with a worldwide average of 29%. 8 macro-regions have been grouped for this analysis and looking at the percentage of women researchers by region, we realize that women working in Research & Development industry goes from the lower 19% up to less than 50%. And the “champions” are not North America or Western Europe, like some would think.

Let’s have a closer look at the single macro-regions. If you thought that your country is the best, you might reconsider your opinion – depending on the place your are living in at the moment.

WORLDWIDE (average of 29%):

women in science worldwide average by region

Central Asia: 47%
Latin America and The Caribbean: 45%
Arab States: 40%
Central and Eastern Europe: 40%
North America and Western Europe: 32%
Sub-Saharan Africa: 30%
East Asia and the Pacific: 23%
South and West Asia: 19%

Would you have ever thought that Asia and Arab States are better than America and Europe in terms of women presence in R&D?

In fact, statistics show that Central Asia, on average, has the higher percentage of women in R&D, followed by Latin America and The Caribbean. Europe and America occupy just the middle positions, even after Arab States (despite the common thought that women, there, mean nothing at all).

If we have a deeper look into the single regions we can discover where we achieved gender parity. It’s interesting to notice that just one in five Countries has achieved it, whereby 45% to 55% of researches are women.



Central Asia (average of 47%):

women in science central asia

Azerbaijan: 54%
Armenia: 54%
Kazakhstan: 52%
Georgia: 51%
Mongolia: 49%
Kyrgyzstan: 48%
Uzbekistan: 41%
Tajikistan: 34%

Latin America and The Caribbean (average of 45%):

women in science latin america

Bolivia: 63%
Venezuela: 56%
Trinidad and Tobago: 55%
Argentina: 53%
Paraguay: 52%
Uruguay: 49%
Panama: 48%
Cuba: 48%
Guatemala: 45%
Costa Rica: 44%
Nicaragua: 43%
El Salvador: 38%
Colombia: 38%
Ecuador: 37%
Bermuda: 36%
Saint Lucia: 33%
Chile: 32%
Mexico: 32%
Honduras: 27%

Arab States (average of 40%):

As mentioned before, if you think Arab States are not women-friendly, there are some exceptions and following you can see where women are treated with parity – at least in R&D:

women in science latin america

Tunisia: 54%
Egypt: 42%
Sudan (pre-secession): 40%
Sudan: 40%
Bahrain: 39%
Iraq: 38%
Kuwait: 37%
Algeria: 35%
Morocco: 32%
Libya: 25%
Palestine: 23%
Jordan: 23%
Qatar: 22%
Oman: 21%
Saudi Arabia: 1%



Central and Eastern Europe (average of 40%):

women in science central and eastern europe

Lithuania: 51%
Bosnia/Herzegovina: 44%
Czechia: 27%
Romania: 46%
Slovakia: 43%
Ukraine: 46%
Hungary: 30%
Croatia: 48%
TFYR Macedonia: 49%
Russian Federation: 41%
Belarus: 41%
Republic of Moldova: 48%
Montenegro: 50%
Slovenia: 36%
Albania: 44%
Serbia: 49%
Poland: 37%
Estonia: 44%
Latvia: 52%
Bulgaria: 50%
Turkey: 37%

North America and Western Europe (average of 32%):

women in science north america western europe

Monaco: 50%
Portugal: 45%
Iceland: 44%
Greece: 39%
Spain: 39%
United Kingdom: 38%
Cyprus: 38%
Norway: 37%
Italy: 36%
Denmark: 35%
Sweden: 33%
Belgium: 33%
Switzerland: 32%
Finland: 32%
Ireland: 32%
Austria: 30%
Malta: 30%
Germany: 28%
Greenland: 27%
Luxembourg: 27%
France: 26%
Netherlands: 24%
Faeroe Islands: 23%

*Data from Canada and United States are “Not Available, so we don’t really know how much the average figure is representative of North America and the whole macro-region. I think this fact is pretty important to keep in mind, because the percentage from Canada and USA could even change the average statistics for better or worse. Hopefully the Unesco will publish their data too, one day.

Sub-Saharan Africa (average of 30%):

women in science sub-saharan africa

South Africa: 44%
Namibia: 44%
Central African Rep.: 42%
Mauritius: 42%
Capo Verde: 40%
Seychelles: 36%
Mozambique: 32%
Madagascar: 32%
Lesotho: 31%
Zambia: 31%
Tanzania: 30%
Angola: 27%
Botswana: 27%
Kenya: 26%
Senegal: 25%
Zimbabwe: 25%
Uganda: 24%
Burkina Faso: 23%
Nigeria: 23%
Rwanda: 22%
Cameroon: 22%
Gabon: 22%
Gambia: 20%
Malawi: 20%
Ghana: 18%
Côte d’Ivoire: 17%
Mali: 16%
Burundi: 15%
Ethiopia: 13%
Togo: 10%
Guinea: 10%



East Asia and the Pacific (average of 23%):

Despite the low average, this region has the country with the higher percentage of women researches: 86%. Further more, if you think Japan is advanced, well, it may be in some aspects, but what about women in R&D? Below the details:

women in science east asia and the pacific

Myanmar: 86%
Thailand: 53%
New Zealand: 52%
Philippines: 50%
Malaysia: 49%
Vietnam: 42%
Brunei Darussalam: 41%
China, Macao: 33%
Indonesia: 31%
Singapore: 30%
Lao PDR: 23%
Cambodia: 21%
Korea, Rep.: 19%
Nauru: 16%
Japan: 15%

South and West Asia (the worst region with an average of 19%):

women in science south and west asia

Sri Lanka: 39%
Pakistan: 30%
Iran, Islamic Rep.: 28%
Bangladesh: 14%
Nepal: 8%

What can we learn from these figures?
The “big winner” here is Myanmar (East Asia and the Pacific), with even 86% of women working in Research & Development.
While the “great loser” is Saudi Arabia (Arab States), with only 1% of women researchers.

I think these statistics and ranking will make you reconsider your opinion on some Countries – at least regarding the women presence in R&D. If you would like to read even more details about this research, you can see the “Women in Science” Unesco Interactive Report here.
Where do you live? Do you think these data are reliable and true? Let your voice be heard and share your opinion

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