Both in industrial and academic environments, in fields of STEM (science,
engineering technology and mathematics) gender equity issues are always challenging.
Women often represent a minority in these sectors and their sense of integration in the community is low. The under representation of women is even lower in senior positions, as in general they choose more often life sciences, than fields like engineering.
For instance, at a European level, the share of women who hold a PhD in STEM sciences is the following: Physical Sciences (38.4%), Mathematics & Statistics (32.5%), ICT (20.8%), Engineering & Engineering trades (27%), Manufacturing & Processing (40.9%), and Architecture & Construction (37.2%) .
Regarding the Labour market participation and their participation as researchers, female researchers share in 2017 was 30% worldwide, and 39% in Europe .
In that sense, although most of the Partners involved in LightMe project are active in the field of Material Science Engineering, the participation of Females in the project is quite high (28.5%), reaching almost the top of the share of female researchers in this field.
In addition, 5 partners (AXIA, IRES, IRIS, ISQ, Mgcom, Incotec), presented over 50% women participation, while the other partners are around 20-30%. Moreover, many partners (11) are activating in “heavy industry”, and in particular in metal industry which is still one of the males’ dominated industries.
LightMe offers solutions towards gender equity, as the proposed materials will be easier to handle by women too, helping to overcome the barrier of physical advantages which contribute to greater strength of males over females.
Although, the share of females in LightMe is around 30%, many of them hold high standing positions in the entities. LightMe consortium strongly support women in industry and in STEM sectors in general.
Towards this direction, a Gender Equality Plan has been set, aiming to the counterbalance of male-female occupied in respective fields. Our gender equity strategy focused on gender awareness in male dominated sectors, like “heavy industries”, engineering and mathematic relative sectors both in academic and industrial environments.
To this end, women in LightMe consortium occupied in the participating industries and universities interviewed to highlight all the points that discourage women to join such job environments. These interviews in a form of written questionnaires are published here, in order to inspire and guide ambitious young women to follow these professions.