A report on women in industrial research provides companies with hard economic evidence on why they should aim at gender balance in R&D and in senior positions to improve their economic performance.
An Austrian EU Presidency conference on women in science and technology took place on 15-16 May 2006 to discuss strategies to increase the number of women in industrial research in Europe. At the same occasion, the Commission presented the results of the Women in Science and Technology –report on what can be done to attract more women researchers into industry. It suggests, for example, providing solutions for dual career couple and single parents and to try to keep girls interested in science on that track in school.
The report also concludes that there is a business case for including more women in senior positions in companies’ and in R&D as “diverse teams produce better results,” it states. Indeed, the report has found that companies with well-managed gender mainstreaming policies often see an improvement in their economic performance. “A workforce consisting primarily of men is clearly one which is not realising its full potential […] unequal opportunities are not only a matter of injustice but primarily a matter of wasted talent.”
In order to integrate more gender diversity in science and technology, companies and experts recommend, for example, to expose women more to challenging work experiences, to address issues affecting work-private life balance common both to men and women and to implement internal company programs on mentoring, coaching and child care.