This article was taken from the Gender Summit Publication's newsletter, originally sent out on 11 February 2017.

Original Title: The world needs science and science needs women. And good sultions needs reliable gender statistics

To ensure that appropriate solutions are implemented, gender equality policies and measures in STEM must be based on evidence and supported by reliable statistics and indicators. These issues have been discussed at GS9, for example by Martin Schaapper in relation to the UNESCO SAGA project.

In Europe, Horizon 2020 has set an important new standard in how research and innovation programmes should be monitored and evaluated by identifying compulsory Key Performance Indicators (KPIs), four of which are gender-specifics. The second interim report for the 2014-2015 period of Horizon 2020 shows that the share of women participants in Horizon 2020 projects was 35.8% of the total workforce, including non-researchers; the percentage of women coordinators was 34.6%; the share of women in advisory group was 51.9%; and 36.2% of the signed grants took into account the gender dimension in the research and innovation content. 

But among the H2020 KPIs there are others with a capacity to advance gender equality in research and innovation if the collected data was disaggregated by sex. For example, there is a KPI for the publications in peer-reviewed journals (1760 during 2014-2015) as well as for patent applications (109), which could report on the balance between women and men. There is a KPI for the scientific datasets made accessible, which could be enriched by showing if sex/gender data are included. There are KPIs for the applicants and researchers involved in EIT and Euratom training programmes, which could be elaborated by showing the proportions of women and men. And the same applies to the KPI for researchers who have access to research infrastructures.  

One of the recommendations from GS9 was that the policy lead taken in Europe to mainstream gender into science institutions, science practice and science knowledge through Horizon 2020 should be extended to include sex-gender dimension in the European Innovation Scoreboard. This is becoming additionally important in light of the emerging vision, promoted in particular by the World Economic Forum, of the approaching Fourth Industrial Revolution, in which ICTs act as ubiquitous general-purpose technology providing a common thread, underpinning and enabling innovation to surge in many other technology areas.

The H2020 Expert Advisory Group on Societal Challenge 6 warned that the potential for the Fourth Industrial Revolution to impact all aspects of human life and European society, economy, culture and wellbeing is huge. 

The issue for Gender Summit is how the underrepresentation of women in ICT fields, in combination with science knowledge that, historically, has favoured the use of ‘male as the norm’ in research, will influence the quality of future technological innovations, for example in eHealth, eCare, eMobility, eGovernment, and ‘big data’ applications. 

Elsevier has been working on a new report “Gender in the Global Research Landscape” to provide fresh, evidence-based, gender-focused analysis of the outputs, quality, and impact of research worldwide, covering 20 years, 12 geographies and 27 subject areas. The report involved collaboration of many experts, including the World Intellectual Property Organization, and will be made first available on 31st March at a Symposium in Washington with keynotes from two distinguished scientists (and past Gender Summit speakers): Rita Colwell and Londa Schiebinger. You can register now for this free event and sign up to receive a copy of the report. The report will be also featured at the forthcoming GS10 – Asia Pacific.

We would also like to draw your attention to the new call to action issued by the global health community, which is already committed to gender parity, but now asks for: improving gender equality in leadership positions of WHO; the meaningful engagement of men and women in the technical programmes of WHO; and active monitoring, data generation, and the adoption of evidence-based best practices that promote gender parity and equality in health governance across WHO and in Member States