Policy ForumDIVERSITY

Increasing gender diversity in the STEM research workforce

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Science  08 Nov 2019:
Vol. 366, Issue 6466, pp. 692-695
DOI: 10.1126/science.aaz0649

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  • RE: Leveraging the gender diversity but not to close the gender gap, so as to serve the scientific advances.
    • Hongliang Zhang, Program director, National Natural Science Foundation of China

    Greider and colleagues should be commended for suggesting specific policy changes so as to close the gender gap across STEM disciplines. The STEM field needs to be more serious about gender inequities and women’s empowerment. The research community and funders need to ensure that scientific research is universally beneficial and not limited by sex or gender. Likewise, gender and sex analysis is urgent for funding organizations.
    Chinese government has long been engaged to increase the representation of girls in education. In 2018, for example, 295098 females got their mas¬ter’s degree, accounting for 54.3% of total master graduates, and 23887 females got their doctoral degree, accounting for 39.3% of total master graduates. Gender gap in the natural science research in China has been recognized. The Talent Program at the National Natural Science Foundation of China (NSFC) is targeted at nurturing top talents and innovative research teams. Since 2011, NSFC has increased the age limit for women scientists applying to the Young Scientist Fund from 35 to 40, whereas that for men remained at 35. Different upper age limit (38 for men, 40 for women) was also applied to the Excellent Young Scientist Fund. However, women appear still underrepresented in the domain of NSFC after 8 years. For the Talent Program in 2019, 51672 female scientists (accounting for 51.48% of all applicants, versus 47.50% in 2011 versus 36.50% in 2010) applied for, and 7390 received the funding of the...

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    Competing Interests: None declared.
  • RE: Rethinking Ideas

    I read the article "Increasing gender diversity in the STEM research workforce" with great interest. Its content is clear and does not require any objection in my opinion. I would like to support the idea of the authors of the article by quoting an outstanding Russian surgeon N. Pirogov*: "... women should take a place in society that is more consistent with their human dignity and their mental abilities." The words were spoken more than 150 years ago and related to the gender equality among health professions (nursing). The article presented in the journal confirms that this problem is still relevant today in the framework of the STEM project, including in nursing education.
    * N Pirogov - known as the doctor G Garibaldi.

    Competing Interests: None declared.