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[RIO DE JANEIRO] Gender equality in Brazilian science is increasing up to doctorate level but few women hold senior scientific posts, according to figures released by the National Council for Scientific and Technological Development (CNPq) and the National Institute for Educational Studies and Research (INEP).
The INEP report includes recent data from the Coordination for the Improvement of Higher Education Personnel (CAPES), one of Brazil’s national agencies that funds postgraduate education,. In 2005, women received 55 per cent of the agency’s 16,264 fellowships for master’s degrees and 54 per cent of the 9,858 granted for doctorates.
According to figures seen by SciDev.Net, the proportion of fellowships for master’s degrees in science subjects awarded to women by CNPq, another major Brazilian funding agency, rose from 45 to 51 per cent between 1990 and 2005.
Neither agency has a policy of positive discrimination towards women, and the figures for undergraduate and postgraduate scientists appear to reflect a wider improvement in gender equality in Brazil in recent years.
But higher up the career ladder, the proportion of posts occupied by women falls in all areas of science, even those that tend to attract large numbers of women, such as human and social sciences.
The CNPq figures show that, in 2005, women hold just one-third of the 8,500 fellowships awarded to researchers who already have their doctorates or equivalent experience.