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The furore over sacked Employers and Manufacturers’ Association boss Alasdair Thompson’s comments about the productivity of working women has receded, but newly collated figures reveal the extent of the gender gap in the New Zealand science system.

According to a study released by the Association for Women in Science:

  • When science is compulsory at school, female students do well across the board but routinely choose the biological sciences above physics or chemistry when given the option.
  • Women with a BSc or PhD earn $30,000 less on average than men with the same qualification level, due to an over-representation in lower paid jobs.
  • Women are still under-represented at higher levels of University employment (Professor/Associate Professor/Senior Lecturer) although they are gaining ground at lower levels.
  • Women are also under-represented at the level of decision making and funding allocation.
  • Women scientists are not gaining the same degree of recognition as males with few awarded the top prizes in New Zealand science.

Check out the graphs below – it starts out promising with women well on top in terms of enrolments in BSc degrees and in many cases individual BSc disciplines. But you’ll notice in the following graphs that the power in New Zealand science is held predominantly by men, with women under-represented among university department heads, recipients of research funding and Fellows of the Royal Society. See the full report here.

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