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Does scientific achievement have a gender?

(Vienna, 26 June 2012) Women continue to be under-represented in science and research. They may account for the majority of students and graduates, but with each ascending step on the scientific career ladder, their numbers continue to dwindle. Across Europe, 70 per cent of all scientists are male. At 75 per cent, Austria has an even higher proportion and is therefore in fourth-last place in an EU comparison. Responsibility for this development is often attributed to women themselves and to their personal decisions, preferences and achievements. The fact that a scientific career is determined by many – including social – factors that have nothing to do with achievement, however, is barely taken into consideration.

The current proceedings list the contributions from two symposia under the title “Does scientific achievement have a gender? current contributions to the excellence debate”, which were held in 2010 and 2011 at the Medical University of Vienna by Vice Rector for Education, Gender and Diversity, Karin Gutiérrez-Lobos, and the Gender Mainstreaming staff unit. The aim of the events, according to the Vice Rector, was to focus on debate around scientific achievement criteria in the medical and scientific sector and their influence on the uneven proportion of women and men in management positions and to therefore provide possible approaches for changing structural conditions in the scientific system.

Measures are being taken to encourage the equal representation of men and women at EU level, at national level and in individual scientific institutions, such as the universities themselves. Says Vice Rector Karin Gutiérrez-Lobos: “The MedUni Vienna is committed to collaborating on this development. Quotas, support programmes, awareness-raising initiatives and information events etc. are all intended to make the road towards a modern and appropriate achievement principle smoother.”

» Download and source of reference for the conference proceedings

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