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UK lags behind Romania, Latvia and Slovakia in R&D gender equality

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The UK’s R&D gender balance is lagging behind EU countries not traditionally associated with being pioneering, a study by specialist tax relief firm Catax reveals today.

Catax analysed the ratio of women to men working in research and development across the EU’s 28 member states and found the UK has climbed four places to 9th in the past decade.

However, Britain still trails surprisingly innovative nations such as Latvia (ranked first), Romania (second) and Slovakia (sixth).

There is some positive news, the UK’s proportion of women working in R&D has risen by 2.9 per cent from 35.7 per cent to 38.6 per cent in ten years. Over the same time period, the average proportion of women in R&D across the 28 countries has risen by just 1.8 per cent, going from 34.4 per cent in 2005 to 36.2 per cent in 2015.

Latvia, which took the top spot in 2005 and 2015, was the only EU country where the number of women in the workforce was greater than men, with 51.02 per cent of researchers in R&D being female.

The UK was not the only EU giant to be caught short in the study. Germany was floundering at the bottom of the rankings, ranking 26th in 2005 and then 25th in 2015 whilst France ranked 26th and the Netherlands ranked bottom of the table in28th place in 2015.

See below table for the top 15:

Rank Country Female per cent of R&D workforce 2005 Rank Country Female per cent of R&D workforce 2015
1 Latvia 51.6 1 Latvia 51
2 Romania 45.3 2 Romania 46.2
3 Portugal 44.4 3 Iceland 45.7
4 Russia 42.4 4 Portugal 44.1
5 Slovakia 41.5 5 Estonia 43.9
6 Estonia 40.8 6 Slovakia 42.2
7 Iceland 39.3 7 Russia 40.3
8 Poland 39.3 8 Spain 40
9 Spain 36.7 9 United Kingdom 38.6
10 Greece 36.4 10 Greece 38
11 Turkey 36.1 11 Norway 37.4
12 Sweden 35.8 12 Turkey 37.3
13 United Kingdom 35.7 13 Poland 37
14 Slovenia 34.8 14 Slovenia 36.5
15 Hungary 34.2 15 Italy 36

Catax CEO, Mark Tighe, commented:

“So-called minnows on the EU industrial landscape are actually leading the way when it comes to female representation in the R&D workforce.

“Some of Europe’s big-hitters like Germany are falling short, and as Europe’s second largest economy, many will feel more needs to be done to encourage greater numbers of women into R&D in the UK too.

“Disparities like this speak to all kinds of elements that contribute to a country’s economic wellbeing, including education, equality and employment protections.

“The big question is whether we can identify what’s holding the UK back fast enough to make a difference.”



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