Messages from the Gender Gap Project

The Gender Gap Project, a three-year effort conducted by eight scientific union members of the International Science Council, including ICIAM, has now concluded.

For an overview of the entire project, including the names of all the participating organizations, see

The final report is available on the project website

in the form of a very complete book describing the methodology of the data-collecting, the workshops and the analysis. It will be soon published officially with an ISBN number and a print on demand option.

An 8 page booklet (English, French, Spanishand Chinese versions) containing the summary of the results of the project and the full list of its recommendations can be found here (English) (French) (Spanish) (Chinese)

The community is invited to "Please feel free to read, use and disseminate". Here is the first page of the English version of the booklet:  


The part of the report addressed to organizations like ICIAM is particularly relevant and interesting, and we reprint it here.

Recommendations for Scientific Unions

By Unions we mean worldwide members of the International Science Council, in particular those that are members of our project.

1. Work collectively to change culture and norms to reduce the various aspects of the gender gap. Share policy, toolkits and learnings to enable member organizations and members. Launch campaigns to increase awareness of the benefits to society of reducing the gender gap.

2. Define and advertise best practices to prevent, report and address sexual harassement and discrimination in professional spaces.

3. In order to address the disproportionate impact of parenthood on the careers of women, recommend and disseminate in the scientific community proper accounting of child bearing/caring responsibilities (18 months per child recommended) when evaluating candidates in hiring and promotion processes. Recognise the existence and impact of discontinuous careers and suggest strategies for developing responsive hiring and funding policies. Encourage policies to help reduce salary disparities.

4. Actively promote the visibility of female scientists, in particular at conferences. Program a session for all participants on diversity and inclusion in their discipline in union-sponsored conferences. Develop policies on gender balance for funding conferences with representative speaker and panel lists, scientific organizing Committees and local organizing committees. Request a reporting mechanism for these concerns at the conference.

5. Encourage the diversification of scientific awards, actively encouraging the nomination of women. Add 18 months per child to all age-limits in scientific awards for people having taken care of children.

6. Encourage the presence of women in editorial boards in your discipline and publish reports on the proportion of papers published by women. Use double blind reviews. Manage constructive feedback on submitted papers.

7. Welcome families in scientific activities. For scientific meetings that you sponsor or support, encourage taking care of all issues of family attending with children and putting a budget in place to offer childcare solutions.

8. Create a committee for women and/or gender equality, with an assigned budget line. Organize specific meetings to promote women’s networking. Support women in writing better grant proposals. Develop websites on women in science, reporting all the news relevant for women in science such as success stories of female scientists, conferences or activities relevant to women in science. Encourage and advertise books and media written by women, biographies of women, and media releases.

9. Actively promote gender balance at every level of your organization, including its leadership, committees and institutional events.

10. In all outreach and educational programs and products, raise awareness about the gender gap and include specific actions and events that aim at reducing the gender gap. When role models are introduced, include diverse backgrounds, genders and ages and those who did not necessarily have a straightforward traditional career, including scientists not employed in academia.


Maria J. Esteban

Maria J. Esteban is a senior researcher at CNRS and works at the University Paris-Dauphine. Her research area includes nonlinear partial differential equations, especially variational methods. Her term as President of ICIAM ended October 1, 2019.