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Women in science: still great gaps in equality

(Vienna, 3rd October 2011) A current study commissioned by the EU confirms that women in Austria have to be two and a half times more productive to obtain a professorship than men. The symposium entitled “Does scientific achievement have a gender?”, being held at the Medical University of Vienna, will look at making this problem visible, raising awareness of the issue and developing new strategies.

“Informing, raising awareness and developing new strategies as a means of providing help", said the Vice-Rector for Learning, Gender & Diversity, Karin Gutiérrez-Lobos, explaining the motto behind the event on Tuesday, 4th October 2011 in the MedUni Vienna's rectory building. The event focuses on the question of “How is top-level research defined, what research achievements are needed to be able to succeed in the international competition, and what influence does the gender of the people involved have on the evaluation of scientific accomplishment?"

The figures speak for themselves - across Europe, only 30 per cent of scientific staff and 18 per cent of the highest-ranking professors are women. In Austria, only around 25 per cent of scientists are female, putting Austria fourth from the bottom in the EU 27 comparison. “And in terms of the ‘glass ceiling index’, which measures how thick the glass ceiling is for women who want to become a professor, Austria is in the upper middle field in the EU average”, says Gutiérrez-Lobos. For women, the hurdles of finding a publisher or obtaining funding for research projects are still significantly more difficult to overcome than for men.

The symposium will also explore the question of alternative criteria for rating achievements. High-profile speakers at the event include Jeff Hearn, one of the co-founders of the critical German Men’s Studies Task Group, and Christine Färber, Professor of Empirical Social Research at the University of Applied Sciences (HAW) in Hamburg.

Symposium: “Does scientific achievement have a gender?”, Tuesday, 4th October 2011 (9 a.m. – 4 p.m.), Rektoratssaal of the Medical University of Vienna, Spitalgasse 23, Rectory Building BT 88, 1090 Vienna. Register by emailing