Published:Mar 5, 2024

Digital democracy|Digital divide

Women dominate science and tech sectors in most of the EU

As we approach International Women's Day on March 8th, a study focusing on EU countries reveals a surprising dynamic: despite varying levels of gender equality, women are leading the way in science and technology in most countries. In this study, Surfshark analyzes the relationship between the data on the number of persons employed in science and technology from Eurostat with the Gender Equality Index.

Key insights

  • In 2022, nearly 1 out of every 6 individuals in the EU was employed in the science and technology sector, totaling 76 million people. Among more than three-quarters of the countries (21 out of 27), over half of the professionals in this sector were women, reaching a total of 40 million in the whole EU.
  • The countries with lower overall gender equality saw a larger proportion of women in science and technology jobs. In the 12 countries where women made up more than 50% of the science and technology workforce, the overall gender equality was below the EU average. For instance, in countries that were in the bottom quartile of the gender equality index, women held 55% of science and technology jobs, compared to the top quartile nations where women represented 51% of the workforce in this sector.
  • The trend of lower gender equality correlating with a higher percentage of women in science and technology roles was also prominent in countries with a lower GDP per capita. The average GDP per capita in nations within the bottom quartile of the gender equality index was €21K ($23K), which starkly contrasts with €56K ($61K) in the top quartile countries.
  • Leading in the percentage of women within the science and technology field were the Baltic countries, Bulgaria, and Poland, with women accounting for 58% to 64% of the professionals in this area. The average gender equality score in these countries was 62.6, which is below the EU average of 67.6.
  • Malta, Italy, and Czechia were noted for having the lowest percentage of women in science and technology, yet women still comprised a significant 46% to 49% of the sector's workforce. The gender equality index scores in Malta and Italy were above the EU average, with scores of 67.8 and 68.2, respectively. However, Czechia stood out as the only EU country having both a below-average gender equality score, at 57.9, and a science and technology workforce with less than 50% women.

Methodology and sources

Data on population size and persons employed in science and technology in the European Union in 2022 was collected from the Eurostat database. Gender Equality Index (2023) data was collected from the European Institute for Gender Equality. Data was aggregated and analyzed in relation to individuals in science and technology per gender, per 100 people, per GDP per capita, and per Gender Equality Index quartiles.

For the complete research material behind this study, visit here.

Data was collected from:

Eurostat (2022). Human Resources in Science and Technology by category and sex 2022;Eurostat (2022). Population on 1 January by age and sex 2022;European Institute for Gender Equality (2023). Gender Equality Index 2023;The World Bank (2022). GDP per capita 2022.
The team behind this research:About us