The best universities in the world are committed to ensuring greater equality between female staff and academic researchers across Europe. A report by the League of European Research Universities , defines the actions that they say will have to overcome discrimination against women that prevents them from playing an active role in European scientific research. The LERU was founded in 2002 as an association of high research university with a research budget of more than € 5 billion (6.1 billion dollars!). The 21 members of the LERU universities undertake to promote the diversity of sex between academic staff with strong leadership skills, in accordance with the institutional frameworks, and other national and in collaboration with universities LERU. They are also working to develop or continue to implement strategies for gender equality and engage with EU policy makers, founders and other stakeholders to advance the cause of gender equality in universities.


It is said that universities need to select the right combination of measures in accordance with their individual and institutional regulations and to target these at certain stages of their careers according to your needs and to consider how to implement and ensure the effective assimilation. The report contains recommendations to address the lack of a size between sexes in research, which may be the result of serious shortcomings and with potentially harmful effects: for example, in medical research, thus limiting scientific excellence, creativity and the benefits to society .

The fact is that the academic world in Europe is still losing a huge amount of researchers, often forced to emigrate to the USA. By the way, the ratio of the LERU says that ” given the excellent grades and high graduation rates of female students before and during the university, is a huge waste not to use the capacities of women and then continuously for top positions ” . In addition, research has shown that qualitative assessment can be strongly influenced by sex. For example, it was noted that many writers tend to use stronger language when describing praise of men rather than women. Other considerations are of a financial nature, namely the appearance of pay. Overall, women tend to receive less money through research grants.

Gap between rhetoric and action

Even the EU are seriously break down cultural barriers between the sexes. ” Given that the European Commission is currently developing the next funding program (called Horizon 2020, which will begin in 2014), the LERU is pleased to see that the first proposals are expected to include mainstreaming and specific action between the sexes order to remove the barriers that prevent women to successfully pursue careers in science, correct imbalances between men and women and to integrate a gender dimension in research and innovation in programming, content and evaluation . ” The report states that the balanced representation of the sexes contributes to excellence in research, positively influences the results of research and promotes the acceptance of scientific insights in order to reaffirm the credibility of the university and the strengthening of their social role.

So, the report says EU, ” we take a collective effort, as LERU universities, to promote the cause of gender equality within our institutions, working together and engaging with other organizations, encouraging other universities to consider our recommendations .” All of these bodies must therefore work actively, individually and collectively, to ensure that Europe continues to attract, train and retain talented women (and men) in the search.