In Finland and the other Nordic countries, gender equality is often taken for granted and considered already realised. However, we are falling behind the rest of Europe in how gender equality in research and innovation is advancing.
- The slowness of gender equality development pertains particularly to innovation in the private sector. In Finland, only 17% of private sector researchers are women, which is a very low portion in a European context. The situation is better in universities and the public sector, where about 45% of researchers are women.
- In comparison to men, women’s advancement in academic careers and in production of patents and publications is improving very slowly. Variation between different fields remains great, and particularly certain technological industries strongly remain predominantly male. Although women have entered technological fields, the number of female professors has remained very low in Finland, at about ten percent.
Research and innovation loses resources and diversity due to this deficiency in gender equality.
In Finland there is much to do particularly in innovation, as well as research and innovation policy. In comparison to Sweden, for example, gender equality has, however, been very poorly addressed in research and innovation policy.
In appearance, promoting gender equality has been thoroughly integrated into the operations of different administrative fields. Notwithstanding, although universities and research institutes are quite thorough in their equality planning, the content of these plans, as well as the reality of how well they are implemented, varies greatly. In addition, only individual organisations are mandated to formulate equality programmes, whereas much of innovation takes place
- as collaboration between different regional, national and multinational actors (such as financiers and businesses)
- between sectors and
- in various networks.
It is thus difficult for gender equality policies to reach the boundary-crossing and network-based activity in which decisions about gender equality and men and women’s career opportunities are made.
We are therefore in need of new ways to advance gender equality, as well as collaboration between local, national and multinational actors.
The seminar offers a long-awaited opportunity to discuss ways in which gender equality in research and innovation can be advanced.
Statistics about gender equality in research and innovation:
European endeavours to advance gender equality in research and innovation:
Swedish endeavours to advance gender equality in reasearch and innovation: