Keywords: innovation, gender, research productivity, sustainable development, European Union, female researchers, female inventors, productivity gap, sustainability, women in science, women in technology, mathematical modelling
The gender innovation and research productivity gap in Europe
Considering that the economic dimension of sustainable development relies on innovation, the under-representation of women in science and technology in the European Union is of special concern. Statistical analysis of patents shows that the low percentage of female researchers (an input indicator) within the EU Member States is accompanied by an even lower percentage of female inventors (an output indicator). We use a simple mathematical model to shed light on the relationships between these findings. The model has one parameter which represents the working conditions, e.g., the distribution of resources by gender. The model allows an estimation of the development of the input-output gap as well as the research productivity gap if the share of female researchers is increased without adequate resources. In this case, a productivity loss for the economy is to be expected.