China aims to close gender gap in science and technology sector

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A new policy led by the Chinese central government authorities aims to promote greater participation of women in science and technology fields and to encourage female academics to play a greater role in “technological innovation” in the world. country.

Thirteen government agencies, including the Ministry of Science and Technology and the National Federation of Women of China, jointly announced Monday’s policy, designed to include more women in the heavily male-dominated sector. Currently, women constitute only 10% of the workforce in the selection of national-level talent in the science and technology sector.

“Female science and technology talents are an important part of the science and technology talent team and a very important power in China’s science and technology enterprises,” the policy said.

According to official figures As of 2019, although there is a similar ratio of male and female employees in the country’s science and technology sector, only a small fraction of women have joined the top ranks. For example, at the Chinese Academy of Sciences and the Chinese Academy of Engineering – two of the largest government-run science and technology institutions – female academics made up only 6% and 5.3% of the workforce, respectively. staff.

The new policy includes more than a dozen measures that would allow more women to join the growing sector. Measures include increasing the number of female members in networking associations, non-discriminatory hiring practices, as well as lengthening search times and setting aside grants for breastfeeding mothers returning to work. after pregnancy.

Yuan Jing, a microbiota researcher at the Capital Institute of Pediatrics in Beijing, told Sixth Tone that female academics face several barriers compared to their male counterparts. Referring to her personal experience, she said that issues ranging from pregnancy to women who are less likely to receive funds and related resources are still prevalent in many organizations.

“It often requires women academics to put in a lot more effort and work hard, and work with heavy loads,” she said. “In addition, (these issues) are often not understood by their families and society. “

Yuan said it was encouraging to see the authorities recognize and address the issues that many nursing mothers face in the new policy.

“Female students face double pressure from work and family, especially after China’s two and three child policies eased,” Yuan said. “Let’s do the math: if a woman completes her doctorate. at the age of 30 and then has three children, it will take at least six to ten years to bear and raise them. After that, she will be almost 40 and missed the best chance for career growth. “

Publisher: Bibek Bhandari.

(Header image: visual of people)


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