Clear east-west divide in EU for gender balance in science and engineering

Clear east-west divide in EU for gender balance in science and engineering
Female employment in science and engineering is well above 50% in multiple regions of Central and Southeast Europe. / Eurostat
By bne IntelliNews February 15, 2024

The share of women employed in science and engineering is considerably higher across almost all of the eastern EU member states than in their western peers, data compiled by the EU’s statistics office Eurostat shows. 

The data, compiled for the year 2022, shows that with some exceptions there is a clear east-west divide, with over 50% of employees in science and engineering being female in multiple regions in the newer EU members in Central and Southeast Europe. 

Across the EU, the number of female scientists and engineers in the EU surged to nearly 7.3mn in 2022, an increase of 310,500 from the previous year. However, despite this overall rise, women still only accounted for 41% of total employment in science and engineering, indicating a persistent gender gap in these sectors.

Women were found to be predominantly employed in the service sector, comprising 46% of scientists and engineers in this domain. In contrast, the manufacturing sector lagged behind, with only 22% of scientists and engineers being women.

Denmark, Lithuania and Bulgaria emerged as leaders in gender diversity, with proportions of female scientists and engineers reaching 53%, 52% and 51% respectively, Eurostat said. 

Conversely, Hungary, Finland and Germany reported lower percentages, with rates as low as 31%, 32% and 34% respectively.

Further analysis based on the Nomenclature of territorial units for statistics (NUTS1) revealed that in regions such as Lithuania and Latvia (both single regions under NUTS1 methodology) and France’s Corsica, female representation in science and technology occupations exceeded 60%. 

Over 50% of scientists and engineers were female in Croatia, Estonia, Slovenia and large parts of Bulgaria, Hungary, Poland and Romania.