NATIONAL MEASURES FOR THE ATTRACTIVENESS
OF SCIENCE FOR GIRLS IN DIFFERENT MEMBER STATES OF THE EUROPEAN UNION AND BEYOND
Claudine Hermann, Vice-President of EPWS
The aim of this study to the ministry of Higher Education and Research, the original one being in French, is to present the initiatives launched in the Member States (and possibly other countries not belonging to the European Union – EU) aiming at improving the attractiveness of science for girls or for the pool of girls possibly interested in science and technology in secondary education or in the first years of higher education.
There is a great number and a great variety of such actions, some of them were set ten or more years ago: the related issue of the declining interest for science studies by young people, and in particular by girls, were studied and analysed in reports, in France and in other countries at the end of the 1990’s. These actions are realised by ministries, universities, research institutions, enterprises -which prepare their future women recruitment-, learned societies, women scientists’ associations, etc. Several EU projects of the 6th and 7th Framework Programmes were tackling this issue. Some of these initiatives get a strong media coverage.
Such actions are mostly designed for both girls and boys, with a special focus on girls. Other ones try to raise teachers’ awareness to the issue of attractiveness of science and technology for girls.
After an introduction (§I) setting the issue of science attractiveness for girls into its historical context, the types of actions existing in France will be recalled (§II), then those in several EU member States and in Australia will be presented (§III). In §IV the initiatives on this topic by DG Research of the EU will be described: i.e. projects funded in the 6th and 7th Framework Programmes and now the campaign “Science, it’s a girl’s thing!”. The conclusion (§V) will be followed by Annexes by countries which will describe some measures in greater details.
This report does not try to be exhaustive but it wishes to give a flavor of several actions that we found particularly interesting. Many links towards relevant websites are provided.
This report benefited from information forwarded by EPWS members on initiatives in their own countries and of answers provided by Helsinki Group (HG) members to Caroline Bélan-Ménagier, from the French ministry of Higher Education and Research and French Helsinki Group (HG) member.