Brussels, 21 June 2012
EU campaign makes science and innovation a 'girl thing'
With the European Union needing up to one million additional researchers by 2020, the European Commission has today launched a campaign to get more girls interested in science and encourage more women to choose research as a career. Women make up more than half the EU's student population and 45 per cent of all doctorates (PhDs), but they account for only one third of career researchers. Women PhD graduates are also still a minority in engineering and manufacturing. The three year campaign will first seek to get teenage girls interested in studying science, technology, engineering and maths (STEM subjects). The focus will then broaden to female students more generally, encouraging them to consider research careers.
European Research, Innovation and Science Commissioner Máire Geoghegan-Quinn said: "This campaign will show women and girls that science does not just mean old men in white coats. Science offers fantastic career opportunities and the chance to make a real difference to our society and our future. The under-representation of women in a sector so vital to our economy does not make sense at a time when Europe is fighting for more growth and jobs. We hope that by providing positive role models and by explaining the options we can persuade more young women to stick with science."
Young people typically make career-critical decisions between the ages of 13 and 17. At this point in their education they orientate towards or away from scientific subjects. That's why the first part of the campaign will address teenage girls in secondary education with the slogan "Science: it's a girl thing". A second phase will aim at encouraging female students to pursue scientific careers.
The campaign will challenge stereotypes of science and show young girls and women that science is fun and can provide great opportunities. It will challenge outdated views of science careers and show how contemporary research practices are connected with societal needs. Research and innovation are the key to finding concrete solutions to common challenges, such as food and energy security, the environment and climate change, or better healthcare. Established female scientists will act as role models in the media and at dedicated events and workshops.
The campaign will cover all 27 European Union Member States over the years 2012/2013. In 2012, events will be first organised in six countries - Austria, Belgium, Germany, Italy, The Netherlands, and Poland. The campaign comes at a time when the European Commission has proposed Horizon 2020, a programme that would increase EU-level support for research and innovation to €80billion for the period 2014-2020, from €55 billion in the current seven-year budget.
Campaign website: http://ec.europa.eu/science-girl-thing/
Facebook page: www.facebook.com/sciencegirlthing