Gender gap in science narrowing, Inspirefest attendees hear
Elena Rossini speaking at Inspirefest. Photo: Conor McCabe

Gender gap in science narrowing, Inspirefest attendees hear

19 Jun 20154 Shares

What’s in a name? The key to identifying and quantifying the gender gap across industry and academia, according to research.

According to new research from Gender Gap Grader, a project to analyse data using name recognition software, the gender gap in science is slowly but surely narrowing. Of 1m scientists listed in scientist profile database ORCID.org, 33pc are women.

Analysing the gender of the names listed in another researcher database, HighlyCited, it was found that, while in 2001 women scientists represented 7pc of all researchers, this number grew to 13pc in 2014.

“We found that there’s been a significant improvement in many fields. For virtually every single field the representation of women rose from the single digits to double. Except for physics, where the numbers dropped,” said Gender Gap Grader co-founder Elena Rossini speaking at Inspirefest 2015 in Dublin today.

For some STEM fields in particular, the gap is closing more rapidly: the number of women engineers listed on HighlyCited has gone from 1pc to 11pc in the last 14 years, while in maths this has risen from 4pc to 11pc.

“We interviewed prominent scientists and researchers and they were positively surprised by the results. At the same time can you really get excited if it goes from 3pc to 14pc? A lot more work needs to be done,” added Rossini.

Additionally, Rossini and her co-founder Elian Carsenet looked at the gender gap in the film industry. Through an analysis of 5m names in IMDB it was found that across virtually every single category from producer to director, men made up 80pc of those working in film.

“Addressing the gender gap is important for filmmaking in particular because when we watch a film or TV show they create an image of the world that then becomes normalised in a way,” explained Rossini.

“If movies are written, directed and produced by men then they dictate the roles women play and this will affect the way we all feel about our own roles.”

The Gender Gap Grader API (Application Programming Interface) is open and free for individuals to use, something that Rossini and her co-founder Elian Carsenet encourage.

Article by Marie Boran

Updated at 10.14am on 1 July 2015 to include video of the Gender Gap Grader presentation. 

Inspirefest 2015 is Silicon Republic’s international event running 18-19 June in Dublin that connects sci-tech professionals passionate about the future of STEM with fresh perspectives on leadership, innovation and diversity.

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