Topic 1: Introduction

The most recent data provided by the European Institute for Gender Equality (EIGE) in 2021 indicates that gender parity is not achieved in the representation of women in higher STEM studies across Europe, particularly in Spain at ISCED levels 5–8. The data also underscores the notable horizontal segregation within STEM higher education. Specifically, in Spain in 2019, the figures revealed that male students represented 4.6% of the university student population in Information and Communication Technologies (ICT), whereas women accounted for only 0.7%. Similarly, in the field of software and application development and analysis, men constituted 1.8%, while women represented just 0.3%.

In the realm of electronics and automation, men constituted 2.8%, while women made up 0.4%. This trend is mirrored in other European countries. In Germany, for instance, the representation of men in ICT stood at 5.5%, while women accounted for merely 1.5%. A similar pattern emerges in software and application development and analysis. In Estonia, 5.6% were men, compared to 2.2% for women. In Greece, male students represented 5.9% in electronics and automation, with women comprising only 1.3%.

The gender gap is evident in mathematics as well. In Ireland, for instance, male students represented 0.4%, whereas women comprised only 0.1% of mathematics students. This observed gender imbalance in STEM fields throughout Europe is also apparent in the fields of education and health, as reported by the European Institute for Gender Equality (EIGE) in 2021. However, it is noteworthy that when considering the student body as a whole, without focusing on specific fields, gender parity is achieved.

In Spain, for example, the overall university student distribution in 2019 showed that 53.7% were women, and 46.3% were men. Thus, the issue does not stem from a disproportionate number of men studying at the university level. Moreover, Spanish universities demonstrate gender-neutral access to their degree programs, indicating that discrimination based on gender is not a factor.