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Publicly Available Published by De Gruyter April 25, 2017

A Global Approach to the Gender Gap in Mathematical and Natural Sciences: How to Measure It, How to Reduce It?

From the journal Chemistry International


One of three grants recently awarded by ICSU is to a new joint project led by the International Mathematical Union (IMU) and IUPAC, with the strong involvement of IUPAP. The project will compile evidence worldwide, including on trends on the role of women in science, to support informed decisions and provide easy access to materials proven to be useful in encouraging girls and young women to study and work in scientific fields. With the involvement of six scientific unions, UNESCO, and GenderInSite, this project constitutes a large international and multidisciplinary collaboration.

Mathematical and natural sciences have long and honorable traditions of participation by highly creative women contributors. However, the percentages of scientists who are women 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. This project will produce sound data to support the choices of interventions that ICSU and member unions can feasibly undertake. Evidence will include trends, since the situation for women continues to change around the world, with some negative developments. Regional information about careers, jobs and salaries will also be provided. The Joint global survey is planned to reach respondents in more than 130 countries, using at least 10 languages, while the Joint study on publication patterns will analyze comprehensive metadata sources corresponding to the 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.

The new ICSU grants, each worth 300,000 Euros across 3 years, created three international initiatives led by ICSU Unions. Through this program, ICSU’s intent is to foster membership engagement by addressing long-standing priorities for ICSU Members in developing science education, outreach and public engagement activities, and by mobilizing resources for international scientific collaboration. In addition to the IMU/IUPAC grant described above, the following projects were awarded this year:

IUPAP-IUCr: Utilisation of Light Source and Crystallographic Sciences to Facilitate the Enhancement of Knowledge and Improve the Economic and Social Conditions in Targeted Regions of the World

IUBS-INQUA: Trans-disciplinary Research Oriented Pedagogy for Improving Climate Studies and Understanding (TROP-ICSU)

Who’s Who in This New ICSU Project?

Lead Applicant 1

International Mathematical Union (IMU); Committee for Women in Mathematics Chair, Prof. Marie-Françoise Roy

Lead Applicant 2

International Union of Pure and Applied Chemistry (IUPAC); Bureau Member and past chair of the IUPAC Committee on Chemistry Education, Prof. Mei-Hung Chiu

Supporting Applicants

International Union of Pure and Applied Physics (IUPAP); Working Group 5 Chair, Prof. Irvy (Igle) Gledhill

International Astronomical Union (IAU); Women in Astronomy” Chair, Full Astronomer Francesca Primas

International Union of Biological Sciences (IUBS); Executive Director, Dr. Nathalie Fomproix

International Council for Industrial and Applied Mathematics (ICIAM); Past-President of ICIAM and Officer, Prof. Barbara Keyfitz

United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO); Chief of the Section on Science Policy and Partnerships and member of the SAGA Steering Committee, Dr. Ernesto Fernández-Polcuch

Gender in Science, Innovation, Technology and Engineering (GenderInSite); Director, Prof. Alice Abreu


ICSU Regional Offices in Africa and Latin America and the Caribbean


International Union of Theoretical and Applied Mechanics (IUTAM)

Online erschienen: 2017-4-25
Erschienen im Druck: 2017-4-25

©2017 by Walter de Gruyter Berlin/Boston

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