Science Careers: Minority Women Scientists in Europe

Science Careers Magazine recently published an article about minority women scientists in Europe.

“As the numbers corroborate, two trends play against minority women scientists.
The loss of women through academia’s leaky pipeline is well-documented; according to the latest Eurostat She Figures, in 2003 the representation of women in science and engineering in the EU-25 was 34% at the Ph.D. level but only 9% at the level of full professor.
Statistics on ethnic minorities in European science are scarce and difficult to parse due to the diversity of the colonization and migration histories of cultures across Europe.”

“Combine the two categories–ethnic minorities and women–and you have a population that has been ignored almost completely. A 2007 European Commission–funded report put together by a network of social researchers in Belgium, Bulgaria, Germany, Italy, the Netherlands, Portugal, and the United Kingdom found that black, migrant, and ethnic minority women scientists were underrepresented in all seven countries.

The Network on Ethnicity and Women Scientists (NEWS) found that minority women are usually confined to fixed-term or part-time positions. “There is a glass ceiling which doesn’t enable them to reach high positions in academic and research institutions,” says Ouali, who acted as the NEWS coordinator.

Minority women have to fight two sets of stereotypes and biases: gender-based and ethnic. Women descended from Moroccan migrants in Belgium, for example, are “questioned on their origins, their name, their appearance, their skin, all the time,” says Ouali, herself a Belgian national with Moroccan origins.

“During all the course of their studies, they face racism and discrimination.” But even those who manage to avoid such overt discrimination like Saidani-Scott experienced may find themselves at a disadvantage. Because minority women are few and rarely have established networks, they often aren’t informed about new calls for grant applications, new positions, and recruitment and promotion procedures. “

To read the full article, please click

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