(photo credit: Marretao22/Wikimedia Commons)
For every seven men who earn doctoral degrees in the fields of engineering, only
one woman has reached the same achievement, according to a new survey by the
National Council for Research and Development in the Science and Technology
According to the survey, the ratio of men to women who earn a
PhD in mathematics, statistics, computer sciences and the physical sciences is
three to one. But in the biological sciences women are a majority.
Miriam Erez, head of the ministry’s Council for the Advancement of Women in
Science, said on Wednesday that the reason for the low representation of women
studying for a doctorate in the exact sciences results from less motivation,
expectations and social stereotypes.
The share of women studying
engineering at the bachelor’s degree level is low, even though studies show that
there are no significant differences in IQ level. Girls are more interested in
careers that involve contact with other people, while boys prefer more technical
fields, she said.
In addition, social stereotypes strengthen the
separation between “male and female professions” and influence their choices at
a time when their self-identity is being formed.
But Erez said she was
optimistic about changes that are likely to raise the share of women in the
exact sciences and engineering. Biomedical engineering, medical informatics and
biotechnology now include many more women.
As social networks
dramatically grow in use by the public, they combine social and technical fields
and raise more interest among women.
“Even mechanical engineering no
longer require one to get dirty with lubricants, and researchers in the field
develop robots for medicine and computer applications,” Erez said.
in these new fields serve as role models for girls and inspire them to try new
subjects in school, she added.
According to the 2010 report of the World
Economic Forum, Israel is listed in 15th place among 134 countries in the
measurement of the gap between women and men.
The gaps are smallest in
Northern Europe. The US is rated in 20th place.
Israel, said Erez, still
has a long way to go to reduce the gaps between men and women and especially in
the choice of scientific and technological fields.
According to data
collected by the Central Bureau of Statistics, in 2009 there were 33,600 male
PhD holders compared to 13,000 women.