France to boost number of women scientists

Ministerial committee calls for specific measures to make science careers more attractive to French women.

“Higher education and research institutes should clearly spell out their policies with regard to gender equality and PhD grants should be extended to cover maternity and adoption leave,” recommends a report drafted by the French ministerial committee for professional gender equality in higher education and research, set up in January 2006.

The committee’s first report, published on 11 December 2006, makes a number of recommendations to encourage young girls to opt for science and technology, to ease women’s access to senior positions in research and to help women conciliate motherhood with a scientific career. François Goulard, the French minister for education and research, has already indicated his support for a number of the recommendations. He announced that €500,000 has been earmarked for a call for proposals for projects aiming to promote scientific careers for women.

Europe needs more scientists and researchers to reach the Lisbon goal of becoming the world’s most competitive knowledge-based economy. As women are under-represented in the field of scientific research, the Commission is promoting measures specifically aimed towards making science more attractive to young girls and encouraging women to take part in European research.

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