Malta has been recognised as having one of the highest increases of women Doctoral graduates in the EU, according to a recent study by the European Commission that investigated the gender gap in education, research and innovation.
“Of the EU-27, the largest increases were observed in Malta and Cyprus, where the share of women Doctoral graduates increased by 25.9 and 12.5 percentage points, reaching gender parity at 50.9% in Malta and close to gender parity at 49.2% in Cyprus,” the She Figures 2021 report read.
The tri-annual study has monitored the level of progress towards gender equality in research and innovation in the EU and beyond, and found that overall, the number of female students and graduates at Bachelor’s, Master’s and Doctoral levels has grown steadily over the past years.
For the Doctoral graduates section, researchers calculated the compound annual growth rate of women and men Doctoral graduates between 2010 and 2018 to measure the increase of women graduating with this type of degree.
In Malta’s case, the island has shown the biggest difference between the compound annual growth rate for women and men Doctoral graduates with 31.6% for women and 14.2% for men – a pretty impressive difference.
However, despite these positive numbers, there were other aspects of this study that highlighted the downfalls in Malta’s academic gender gap.
For instance, the number of women researchers in the government sector on the island decreased by 11.1% per year on average, while the number of men researchers increased by 6.6% per year on average.
This consequently means that Malta has the lowest share of women researchers in that same sector with 21.9%.
Similarly, the average annual growth rate for women researchers in Natural sciences and Medical and Health sciences declined -100% per year in Malta, meaning that there hasn’t been an increase since 2003.
So, as you could probably tell, Malta definitely has its own weak spots when it comes to the academic gender gap, and quite frankly, so does the whole of the EU.
In general, the study concluded that disparities between study fields (and thus work fields) in the EU and beyond continue to persist, despite women outnumbering men as students (54%) and graduates (59%), and almost reaching gender balance at doctoral level (48%).
The study also pointed out that the segregation in career paths for women in academics is more notable in the field of STEM which directly contributes to the gender pay gap since these fields tend to be associated with higher levels of pay.
In fact, the gender pay gap in Malta has actually increased by 4.4% between 2010 and 2019, according to a study by the European Foundation for the Improvement of Living and Working Conditions (Eurofound).
“The latest She Figures report highlights that Europe’s economy, labs and academia already depend on women. However, it also shows that we still need to do more to promote gender equality, in particular to inspire girls for a career in STEM,” the Commissioner for Innovation, Research, Culture, Education and Youth said.
“There is no doubt, Europe needs women’s creativity and entrepreneurial potential to shape a more sustainable, green and digital future.”
If you want to read the full report click here.
This article is part of a content series called Ewropej. This is a multi-newsroom initiative part-funded by the European Parliament to bring the work of the EP closer to the citizens of Malta and keep them informed about matters that affect their daily lives. This article reflects only the author’s view. The European Parliament is not responsible for any use that may be made of the information it contains.
What do you make of these numbers?