Data Catalyst - InnovationToday is International Women’s Day. As part of the festivities leading up to the day and as part of the research we’re doing at around the role of gender in the innovation economy, we decided to take a look at women in science.

In order to start this research, we worked with the United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) Institute for Statistics to look at the gender composition of scientists around the world, and to see what kinds of trends, similarities, and disparities exist. We’re excited to share a new interactive tool, Women In Science, that allows you look at the breakdown of women in science in dozens of countries around the world.

UNESCO Women In Science Interactive Data Visualization
UNESCO Women In Science

We encourage you to play with the interactive tool to see what we’re doing well and where we’re slipping when it comes to gender disparity in science. Here are a few things we noticed:

  • Just 30% of the world’s researchers are women, but there are some interesting exceptions: in Bolivia, women account for 63% researchers, compared to France with a rate of 26% or Ethiopia at 8%.
  • Women researchers tend to work in the academic and government sectors, while men dominate the private sector.
  • Women researchers remain the minority in the fields of science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM). In the Republic of Korea, for example, only 17% of researchers are women and they account for just 9% of those working in the field of engineering and technology.

Over the next few weeks, we’ll be delving deeper into the numbers for women in science in our country and presenting five new visualizations that look at how we’re doing in Canada and how we compare to the rest of the world.

In the meantime, we encourage you to explore the UNESCO interactive tool and share some of the insight you find, and some of your ideas on how we can help bridge the gaps.


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Sameer Vasta

Sameer Vasta works on public policy, government relations, public affairs, and communications for MaRS Data Catalyst. He’s also a flâneur, letter-writer, hopeless romantic and hugger extraordinaire. See more…