Feb 11, 2022
Top 10 Resources on Increasing the Numbers and Experiences of Women in Science

Want to understand and contribute toward bridging the gender gap in science? Here are some of our top recommended resources containing lessons for advancing women’s careers in science and strategies for plugging the persisting gender gap in science.

As we mark the International Day of Women and Girls in Science,  we recognize that science is crucial to economies’ innovative capacity and competitiveness. We must acknowledge that women are integral to scientific leadership and contribution to future development and transformation.

Although significant progress has been made globally in closing the gender gap in STEM, studies show that women account for only 30 percent of researchers worldwide despite the growing number of women enrolling in university. Significant disparities between men and women in the lab, in the office, and the field severely limits our potential to contribute to developing challenges in agriculture like climate change, food insecurity, poor land use, and low productivity effectively.

In a joint statement toward the International Day of Women and Girls in Science, UN Women Executive Director Sima Bahous and UNESCO Director-General Audrey Azoulay emphasized the need to “recognize women’s contributions in research and innovation, smash stereotypes, and defeat discrimination against women and girls in science.”

As we celebrate the achievements and contributions of women in science, we curated the top 10 of some of the recent studies and articles spotlighting women in science. These resources highlight the prevalent causes of the gender gap and provide recommendations and lessons on how to advance gender equality and increase the representation of women in science.

  1. Moves are afoot in Africa to keep more women in science careers

In this article, professor Barbara Tiedeu from the University of Yaounde records progress, albeit slow, in increasing the numbers and visibility of women in science. The study presents nine initiatives spearheading the inclusion of more women in science in various ways, including customized reward and recognition, mentorship programs, global events for visibility, and annual evaluations to track progress. 

  1. Envisioning Frameworks to Address Systemic Causes of the Persisting Gender Gap in Science

This report highlights that mentoring and innovative partnerships play a significant role in facilitating the inclusion of more women scientists in global conversations and STEM leadership. The article recommends that research funders and institutions pay more attention to their policies and priorities. Beyond institutional policies for gender equity, institutions need to be deliberate in ensuring their policies’ socialization and establishing ways of monitoring the policies’ implementation.

  1. Science academies and disciplinary groups have work to do on gender equality

In this study coordinated by GenderInSITE, Roseanne Denise Diab, the director at GenderInSITE, and Peter McGrath, a researcher at the InterAcademy Partnership, recommend developing and maintaining a central repository of gender-related policies and actions to improve global gender representation and equality in science. 

  1. Why we need more girls in Africa in STEM – and how to get them there

Marie Francoise Marie-Nelly, the World Bank Country Director for South Africa, Botswana, Namibia, Lesotho, and Eswatini, articulates that the drivers of gender inequality in STEM are known, and various innovative initiatives are addressing these drivers. She notes that there is an urgent imperative need to scale these initiatives. 

  1. Young women fired up for science careers in Africa

This article shows how intentional investments in girls’ education and paying attention to gender disparities in leadership have enabled emerging women across Africa to push their boundaries and thrive in their science careers.

  1. The tenth anniversary of empowering women in science in Kuwait

This event summary presents that the global gender gap in science needs international collaboration and partnerships to strengthen enabling environments for women’s mentoring and leadership in science. The article emphasizes the need for intentional investments in increasing the visibility of women in science from an early stage.

  1. Solving the Equation

The American Association of University Women conducted a study and published a report on how universities can make STEM more conducive for women to thrive. The report highlights the need to address the prevalent gender bias in recruitment and establish effective interventions to reduce implicit and explicit bias. 

  1. Gender differences in scientific careers: A large-scale bibliometric analysis

This study analyzed researchers’ publications across scientific disciplines globally and discovered that women are less likely to continue publishing than men, and men produce between 15 percent to 20 percent more publications than women. 

  1. Historical comparison of gender inequality in scientific careers across countries and disciplines

This study shows that academia is “losing women in science at a higher rate at every stage of their careers. This finding suggests that focusing on junior scientists alone may not be sufficient to reduce the observed career-wise gender imbalance.” The study further established that a “key component of the gender gaps in productivity and impact may not be rooted in gender-specific processes through which academics conduct research and contribute publications but by the gender-specific sustainability of that effort throughout an entire academic career.” 

  1. Gender bias stymies women’s careers in STEM — UN

This article stresses that evidence-based programs and policies, flexible workplaces, and exposing more female role models are some of the factors that can play a crucial role in removing obstacles for girls and women in science.


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