The new challenges, growing technological dependence, increasing demand on finite resources are requesting social, economic and political changes. The fast-moving development of knowledge-based economy and technological innovation implies revising the role of sciences in society and science policies. For such an objective and for the creation of innovative technologies and the development of an economy based on scientific achievements, aiming at the well-being of nations, highly qualified human resources are necessary: both men and women scientists talents are strongly needed.
The Parliamentary Assembly has already considered the issue of gender equality in science and technology in its Resolution 1207 (1999) on the role of women in the field of science and technology. Fourteen years after, these analysis and recommendations are still pertinent. Although some actions have been pursued at the European Union level and in many Western Europe countries, much remains to be done. The research career opportunities are not equal for male and female scientists in most European countries: in the most advanced ones, only 20 % of the researchers in “hard sciences”, such as physics, engineering and technological sciences are women; in other countries the progress in gender equality has been limited or is inexistent as the issue is not recognised (former communist countries, some Southern European countries and others).
According to the European Platform of Women Scientists EPWS (the umbrella organisation of European women scientists’ organisations, representing 12 000 women scientists), the failure to ensure gender equality in science strongly limits the pool of high qualified human resources for the development of a society based on scientific achievements.
The Assembly should therefore draft a report on the subject calling on the European parliaments and governments to pay particular attention to the gender equality problem in science and to promote measures necessary for its implementation