67% of Europeans think that women do not possess the required capabilities in order to access high-level scientific positions.
Paris, September 16th, 2015 - The Maison de la Chimie hosted the L'Oréal Foundation’s #ChangeTheNumbers press conference this morning. On this occasion the results of its exclusive international collaborative study with OpinionWay were announced in order to help understand the causes of disparities affecting women in science and the obstacles they face in their professional progression.
David Macdonald, Philanthropy Director of For Women in Science, noted that the public is not aware of the weight with which prejudices are still anchored in perceptions, at a time when only 30% of researchers are women.1
To enrich this study, the L'Oréal Foundation called upon testimonies from women scientists that it has rewarded. It had the honour of welcoming Elizabeth Blackburn as a spokesperson on this subject, Laureate of the L'Oréal-UNESCO Award For Women in Science and the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine in 2009. She says:
"Having had to overcome prejudices myself throughout my career, it seems essential to me to participate in this fundamental movement in order to significantly push boundaries."
Three main findings have arisen from this study:
PREJUDICE IS STILL DEEPLY ROOTED
As David Macdonald stated, "the study reveals that 67% of Europeans think that women do not possess the required capabilities in order to access high-level scientific positions. Only 10% of respondents believe that women possess the capabilities for science in particular."
Women apparently suffer the following shortcomings: a lack of perseverance, of rational thought, of practicality, of rigor, of a scientific spirit and an analytical mind.
A REAL UNDERESTIMATION OF THE PROBLEM
With these preconceived ideas being very persistent, it is interesting to note that respondents still think that women are much more numerous in science than they actually are.
Respondents estimated that women within scientific fields hold 28% of the highest academic functions within the European Union, however the reality is that women within scientific fields hold only 11% of the highest academic positions.
When spontaneously citing scientific personalities, without any criteria for gender, 71% of respondents gave the names of men and 33% gave women's names; in France Marie Curie being the only woman mentioned spontaneously.
1* Source: Boston Consulting Group in 2013, based on an average of the results obtained in France, Germany, Spain, UK, USA, Japan, and urban China
A CHANGE THAT SOCIETY WANTS
Society is aware of the obstacles that women scientists face, obstacles that are independent of their abilities: 49% think they are obstructed by cultural factors, 43% think they are obstructed by men and 40% think they are obstructed by their management.
What is more, 59% of Europeans find that the evolution of women’s place in scientific research is too slow, this being an increase from 26% in 2000, and 29% in 2010.
Faced with the fact that 3% of scientific Nobel Prizes are awarded to women, 63% would like to see an increase to 50/50.
#CHANGETHENUMBERS: A digital module to share the results of the study and engage the community
ABOUT THE L'ORÉAL FOUNDATION
Empower. Inform. Support. Accompany. Change perceptions. These are the convictions and core values that guide the L’Oréal Foundation’s commitment to women throughout the world. And it is with Science and Beauty that the L'Oréal Foundation reveals and enhances all those it accompanies, via missions organised around two main themes.
With its For Women in Science movement, the L'Oréal Foundation encourages a scientific vocation in girls from secondary school age, encourages female researchers and rewards excellence in a field where women should be more numerous. Beauty in order to feel better and live better – beauty care and well-being treatments in medical and social contexts to help women affected by disease, insecurity, and isolation; in order to reconnect with their self-esteem, to rediscover and revitalise mistreated femininity, to continue to fight for their lives. This also includes measures to enable them to project themselves into the future, thanks to training programmes in the beauty sector.
Marion Gauci - firstname.lastname@example.org - 06.63.90.88.87
Delphine Hilaire - email@example.com - 06.22.68.29.64
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Discover the #ChangeTheNumbers module: www.changethenumbers.science
More information at www.discov-her.com, the leading website dedicated to women in science.
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More information on the L'Oréal Foundation at: www.fondationloreal.com