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Science and Gender Indicators: A Critical Review

Obdulia Torres González


This article approaches, from a critical perspective, the study of two of the most frequently used science and gender indicators: the glass ceiling index and the dissimilarity index. The former places at a disadvantage those science and technology systems where more women are present, sometimes providing measurements that go against an intuitive interpretation of the data. The measurements provided by the latter index depend on the level at which the indicator is applied, (ISCED levels 5 or 6, or women researchers). The most surprising result is that populations that are initially heterogeneous become homogenous over time. Finally, we propose using as an indicator the number of years needed in each country to achieve equality at each stage of an academic career. The formula combines the growth rate and the percentage of women in each group. This indicator is especially useful in international comparisons. To carry out the analysis, real data were used from various European Union countries, including Spain, Denmark, Sweden, and Germany.


gender; science; indicators; glass ceiling index; dissimilarity index.

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