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Sweden: Harder for women to get science grants

Proposal wording may be behind a bias in favour of men, new report shows

Sweden’s strategy of allocating research funds based on strategic excellence has meant a re-allocation of funding from men to women of approximately SEK 1 billion over the past decade.

This is according to a recent report, commissioned by Swedish government, writes University World News.

The authors say a »catastrophic bias« has kept women out of research over the last ten years.

Women are cited as much as men

Female researchers received just 12.7 per cent of SEK 2 billion earmarked for strategically excellent research, while men received 87.3 per cent.

Usually, women receive around 30 per cent of mainstream funding.

This is despite the fact that bibliometric studies show that women are cited as much as men within the same research fields.

The funding bias has also contributed to the perpetuation of the idea that »only men are capable of delivering top-class research results,« write the authors of the report.

Wording may scare off female applicants

However, the real reason why women do not tend to get these funds is primarily because a lower proportion of women apply, they add.

However, the lower application rate among women has not yet been analysed, the authors said.

»We do not know if the wording of the call for proposals might have an effect on women not applying – calls such as ‘directors wanted!’, ‘strong leadership skills’, ‘strong entrepreneurial achievements’ – or if men have stronger international networks,« they say.

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